Report: Live Streamers Skirting Payment for Programming

As of the third quarter of 2017, 12% of U.S. broadband households were using a live streaming platform such as Facebook Live or Periscope, and more than a third of households live-streaming TV shows or sports indicated they opted for live-streaming because they did not want to pay for access, according to a new report from Parks Associates.

“Over one-quarter stated that they accessed the content via live streaming because the price of the programming was too high,” said Brett Sappington, senior director of research for Parks Associates. “While these figures ultimately represent less than 5% of U.S. broadband households, they are a significant portion of those watching app-based live streams.”

The profile for live streamers is generally younger, with 19% of consumers ages 18-24 engaging in live streaming activity, but live streaming of TV shows and sports skews older, indicating more older viewers might be using these solutions to access illegal streams of content, according to the report, “Pay TV, Passwords, and Piracy.”

“Eight percent of broadband households have used live streaming apps to watch TV shows, while 7% have used live streaming apps to watch sports,” Sappington said. “Some sports franchises and leagues are legitimately live streaming their content, but much of the produced content on these live streaming platforms remains unsanctioned.”

The report identifies trends among content-pirating consumers, details emerging streaming piracy methods, and assesses viable solutions for addressing these piracy methods.

Additional data from the report includes:

  • 18% of Cord Nevers indicate they use the credentials of someone outside their household to access an online video service.
  • Among pay-TV subscribers, only 7% indicate they use IDs and passwords for video services from people who do not live in their household.
  • 14% of Cord Cutters use others’ credentials for online video services, double the rate of use by pay-TV subscribers.
  • 45% of U.S. broadband households are very concerned about downloading a virus or malware when downloading or streaming video.