Piracy via illegal television set-top boxes rampant in Malaysia says AVIA survey

A new study by the Asia Video Industry Association (AVIA) a trade body representing the video industry across the region, reveals that 25% of Malaysian consumers use modified television set-top boxes also known as illicit streaming devices to access pirated channels and VOD content.

The survey was commissioned by AVIA’s coalition against piracy (CAP) and conducted by research firm YouGov.

Consumers who purchased an ISD chose to cancel subscriptions to legitimate Malaysia-based online video services, with 35% opting out, according to the survey.

Additionally, a large number of those cancelling their subscriptions — 66% — were in 18 to 24 year old demographic.

The problem is widely prevalent across the region. ISD usage was highest in Taiwan at 35%, followed by the Philippines at 28% and Hong Kong at 20%.

The distribution of ISDs is widespread with 50% of consumers claiming they got one from one of the largest Southeast Asia-based ecommerce stores. Social media platforms are also emerging as a huge distribution channel.

AVIA CEO Louis Boswell said: “The illicit streaming device (ISD) ecosystem is impacting all businesses involved in the production and distribution of legitimate content.

“ISD piracy is also organised crime, pure and simple, with crime syndicates making substantial illicit revenues from the provision of illegally re-transmitted TV channels and the sale of such ISDs”.

CAP’s general manager Neil Gane added: “Piracy websites and ISDs typically have a click-happy user base, and are being used more and more as clickbait to distribute malware.

“Unfortunately the appetite for free or cheap subscription pirated content blinkers users from the very real risks of malware infection.

“The type of malware embedded within the piracy ecosystem can include particularly harmful malware such as remote access trojans which allows the hacker to activate and record from the device’s webcam without the victim being aware”.  


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