The Association of Private Media, VAUNET, is sounding the alarm: According to a published study, television piracy caused economic damage of 1.8 billion euros in 2022. As a result, the state lost 390 million euros in taxes. The illegal watching of linear television has reached the broader spectrum of society: 5.9 million people use illegal live TV signals. It is exclusively about illegally offered linear streams of classic TV stations. Illegal downloads of series or films and their streaming are not included.
According to the surveys, the number of users has almost doubled since 2018. The 24 to 33-year-olds use the illegal offers the most, but they are very popular in all age groups between 24 and 63. It is preferably men who are looking for the illegal stream: they make up 80 percent of the users.
Pirate viewers have not only increased, they also watch more often and longer: 72 percent watch television in this way at least once a week (2018: 54 percent). Apps and software such as Vavoo, Rokkr and Watched are mostly used, which are operated on devices such as the Fire TV stick, Chromecast, on a Raspberry Pi or a streaming box with the Kodi playback software. In particular, the most widely used illegal linear TV genres include fictional content, sports, documentaries and information.
Association calls for political action
The authors of the study justify the high economic damage with a loss of sales in programming amounting to 587 million euros as well as lost taxes and social security contributions. If the illegal offers were eliminated, 45 percent of illegal viewers would be willing to pay for legal offers. After all, 91 percent do not want to do without the offers.
The association calls on politicians and regulators at European level and in Germany to take measures against illegal TV viewing. In the past, providers of such offers have already been identified and proceedings initiated against them. The online activities of over 2700 people were measured for the report. There was also a representative online survey with more than 550 users of illegal linear TV streams.
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