Survey: 23pc Malaysian online consumers use illicit streaming devices to view pirated TV channels

Malaysians have moved from watching movies in pirated CDs and DVDs to using illicit streaming devices (ISD) to stream pirated television and video content. — Reuters pic
Malaysians have moved from watching movies in pirated CDs and DVDs to using illicit streaming devices (ISD) to stream pirated television and video content. — Reuters pic

KUALA LUMPUR, Sept 3 — Malaysians have moved from watching movies in pirated CDs and DVDs to using illicit streaming devices (ISD) to stream pirated television and video content.

In a survey conducted by market research firm YouGov on behalf of the Asia Video Industry Association’s Coalition Against Piracy (CAP), at least 23 per cent of Malaysian online consumers uses a TV box device which enables them to access hundreds of pirated television channels and video-on-demand content, to the detriment of legitimate subscription video services.

ISDs such as the TV boxes often come pre-loaded with illegal applications allowing ‘plug-and-play’ access to pirated content.

The survey also found that 50 per cent of online consumers has accessed streaming piracy websites or torrent sites, to access premium content without having to pay for any subscription fees.

The survey also noted that ISD usage has decreased slightly in the second half of the year, compared to a similar study YouGov conducted in January, which discovered 25 per cent of Malaysian online consumers used TV boxes to stream pirated television and video content.

The survey revealed that among those who use TV boxes for free streaming, some 64 per cent of them said they cancelled some or all of their legitimate pay-TV services subscriptions. This means that approximately 20 per cent of Malaysian users has abandoned legal subscriptions in favour of ISD purchases.

A long-term problem emerging from ISD usage is the relative youth of its users. The survey revealed that those between the ages of 18 to 24 years old particularly favour using them, with up to 76 per cent of them cancelling legitimate subscription services as a result of owning ISDs.

CAP’s general manager Neil Gane said the piracy ecosystem in this day and age is highly fragmented.

“So what we are developing and refining is a holistic solution to include enhanced legislation to allow for effective enforcement, meaningful cooperation with e-platforms and other intermediaries, disabling access to pirated content through efficient and effective site blocking and consumer outreach,” he said in a statement.

Currently, the sale of TV boxes in Malaysia requires SIRIM certification.

The illegal sale of such unlicensed devices incurs heavy fines, such as that imposed on four businessmen in June, who were charged for possessing and selling unlicensed Android TV boxes and audio-video sender equipment and fined RM70,000.

The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission along with the Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Ministry has been conducting a study since February which could lead to a potential ban on TV boxes.

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