The global digital revolution has unequivocally led to a rise in consumer expectations when it comes to video. They expect access to their favorite movies, TV shows and live streaming channels on any device, at anytime and of the highest quality – and content owners are enthusiastic to feed this demand. Concurrently, the battle against video piracy has intensified into one of the biggest challenges facing creative industries, which is taking place on every continent – both in advanced and developing markets.
Pirates – from smartphone-toting movie theatre attendees to sophisticated organized crime – continually capitalize on this consumer demand by developing sophisticated infringement methods to spread their illicit redistribution footprint. The new Cracking Down on Digital Piracy report indicates that its rampant, devastating nature affects 3 million people working across nearly 250,000 companies in the UK creative industry alone, for example – threatening pertinent areas like jobs, livelihoods and tax revenues.
Prior to this report, when asked to speak at the Content Protection Summit East in New York, I decided to do my presentation on “Protecting creativity in the online era”. Representing NexGuard, a specialist in deterring piracy, I considered that this topic was central: piracy poses a threat to budgets dedicated to the broader media and entertainment industry, and content protection provides the last safeguard for the millions of people making the magic happen behind the scenes.
Let’s look at a few numbers from various parts of the world:
- There are 22 million people involved in the media & entertainment industry in the US alone
- Piracy costs the Indian industry $2.7 billion yearly and puts 18,000 Irish jobs at risk according to The Irish Independent
- The media & entertainment industry in Italy lost €686 million (ca. $806 million) in 2016.
While the industry is facing many challenges, there is hope for budding writers, post-production artists and independent producers. The EU will be investing €12 million in film and TV development as part of its Creative Europe’s Slate Funding scheme. In the UK, the British Film Institute has teased out that it will offer a £50,000 bursary for emerging filmmakers. While the details will only be known in October 2017, the future looks brighter for the creative minds in Europe.
Similar endeavors have popped up in all parts of the world, with Sundance Festival investing in Indian independent filmmakers, while new studios throughout the US are enabling young talent to join projects in Atlanta, Chicago or New Orleans. The Australian Academy for Film and Television Arts has also made a pledge to reward the Asian creative industry by creating a new category, ‘Best Asian Film’, at the ACCTA Awards, which will be announced in December.
Large players in the industry are also opening their doors further to creative developments, with Universal Pictures amassing $4 billion at the worldwide box office for the second time this year, partly thanks to breakouts like ‘Get Out’, which helped to swell box office figures to $2.79 billion internationally.
As an illustration of this increased investment in and focus on creativity, we welcomed the creation of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) with open arms on June 13. Created by the world’s biggest content producers, the Alliance aims at reducing the threat of piracy, expanding on the legal, digital content marketplace and improving collaboration to reduce piracy – three missions that have always been in our DNA. With some of the most influential companies in the world joining hands, the Alliance is a force to be reckoned with, and will help to reaffirm the importance of protecting creativity. We are proud to be working with the majority of its founding members, and have embraced the initiative ourselves.
At the end of the day, creative programming is the key factor that influences whether people go to the cinema, tune in to their TV or watch content on their mobile devices. By offering solutions that deter piracy, NexGuard plays a crucial role in protecting the livelihoods of millions of hardworking professionals, turning beautiful concepts into the compelling experiences that consumers crave. Creativity is more essential today than ever, and we are proud to be working to ensure that, together, we continue to make consumers fall in love with new global productions every single day. Piracy is not just about big business; it’s also about people’s livelihoods. The Media & Entertainment industry is one of the most influential in the world – it’s down to all of us to ensure that the magicians that have made this possible are in a position to do so.