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COVID-19 and Geo-Piracy: The Perfect Storm for Sinking Revenue

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COVID-19 and Geo-Piracy: The Perfect Storm for Sinking Revenue

Attendance at amusement parks, movie theaters and live events has significantly declined as people stay at home during COVID-19, leading to steep decreases in ticket sales, losses in revenue and job cuts. For example, Disney recently laid off 28,000 employees, mostly at its two US theme parks. This situation leaves revenue from online content streaming as critical income for rightsholders like Disney, Universal and many others.

At the same time, there has been a 47% increase in the sales of streaming services to view live sports broadcasts, movies and TV shows. It’s no surprise that the rising demand for streaming services during the pandemic has led to a surge in use of VPN and DNS proxy services to bypass territorial restrictions on premium content, with Atlas VPN alone seeing a 53% spike in usage in the US.

The double-hit of low to no ticket sales and losses due to content piracy, which are projected to cost Pay-TV and OTT providers $12.5 billion by 2024, makes content protection more important than ever for studios, sports leagues, rightsholders and OTT broadcasters. In fact, VPN and DNS proxy providers are using the pandemic to actively market their location-spoofing products to enable users to circumvent territorial restrictions in order to illegally access content.

The Ever-Growing Threat of Residential IPs

A related, ongoing threat is from “free” VPN providers that essentially “hijack” the residential IP addresses of the people who download their software. These providers then sell (or “sublease”) the residential IPs to other VPN providers that in turn promote them as “undetectable” residential IP addresses, allowing viewers to sidestep traditional VPN IP checks.

As a result, the territorial business model that studios, content owners, media rightsholders and premium OTT broadcasters are relying on for their revenue is under serious threat.

The Solution is Simple: CDN-level Integration

While piracy is a complex issue, geo-piracy stemming from the use of residential IPs is a problem that can be easily solved. That’s because utilizing residential IPs has an Achilles’ heel: they’re very expensive to use for actual content delivery.

Residential IPs are only employed at the website level to grant users access to the streaming service’s website itself. Once the actual video starts streaming at the content delivery network (CDN) level, the VPN switches to a cheaper, non-residential data center IP address. By integrating detection at the CDN level, the CDN can identify the switch and immediately stop the illegal stream.

Protect Your Remaining Revenue with GeoGuard

GeoGuard’s industry leading anti-piracy VPN/DNS proxy detection solution is “Hollywood Studio Approved” and fully integrated with multiple industry-leading CDNs, including AWS CloudFront and Akamai, to provide fast and easy access to our award-winning technology. Online broadcasters can use GeoGuard’s solutions to remain compliant with studios’ and rightsholders’ digital content protection obligations to safeguard this increasingly important revenue stream.

Although COVID-19 has caused revenues from ticket sales and in-person events to dwindle, studios, content owners, media rightsholders and premium OTT broadcasters can still safeguard the territorial business model they rely on. Contact us today to find out how to protect this critical source of revenue at solutions@geoguard.com!