Friday, July 21, 2017

One Third of Premier League Fans Watch Illegally Streamed Matches

A new report from the BBC has shown that more than one third of Premier League fans admit that they have watched illegally streamed matches either online or through unofficial streams.  The poll shows that younger adults are more likely to use these unauthorized products rather than watching through Sky TV or BT Sport.

Growing problem

Around 25% of those surveyed said they often watched matches through special technology including Kodi boxes that allow them to see illegal streams of matches.  Currently, only Sky TV or BT Sport have the license to officially broadcast Premier League matches.  
The Premier League themselves are keen for a crackdown on unofficial ways to watch matches and says that the law will catch up with the pirates and that it also will protect its copyright – the matches and the league itself.

Other figures

Other stats from the poll of 1,000 for 5 Live Daily included:
  • Nearly 50% of fans said they had used an unofficial provider to stream a match at least once
  • One third of those surveys said they did so at least once a month
  • One in five used the unofficial methods to watch a match once a week
  • Many who illegally stream are doing matched betting for football also do when betting on horse racing
Some of the reasons given for using these illegal alternatives included that someone in their friends or family circle was doing it and they just sat and watched.  Others said that they believed that paid sports TV packages weren’t good value for money.  Some cited the quality of the stream as a reason for opting for these methods.
Just under 33% admitted they didn’t know whether it was illegal or not to stream a live Premier League match online while another 33% confirmed that they had always known it was an illegal move.

European judgement

The survey comes after a ruling by the European Court of Justice in April that placed pirated streams in the same legal category as copyright-infringing downloads and means they are illegal to watch.  The move meant that watching these streams is no longer a grey area but according to the Federation Against Copyright Theft (FACT) means it is ‘very black and white’.
The Premier League is also seeking to protect the value of the TV deal it has arranged with Sky TV and BT Sports, who paid a record £5.136 billion for the rights to show matches across three seasons.  Last year saw the biggest drop in Premier League viewing numbers with Sky seeing a 14% drop while BT had a 2% drop in viewer numbers.
Reasons for this could include the relegation of well-supported teams such as Aston Villa and Newcastle United while Sky has also encouraged people to use legitimate alternatives such as Sky Go and Now TV to view matches.

Crackdown

The Premier League announced earlier this year that it was launched its biggest ever anti-piracy crackdown that would be focusing on providers of illegal streams but also on those supplying the equipment.  
A High Court judgement in March meant that the UK’s four biggest internet service providers now have the ability to block access to online servers with the aim of making it harder for pirates.  This means that the pre-loaded boxes that allow pirate broadcasts will be shut down and people found to have them could face being jailed or having to pay high fines.

A spokesman for the Premier League said it will continue to protect its copyright and the ‘legitimate investment’ made by broadcasting partners.  This investment allows clubs to develop and to buy new players as well as to invest in facilities and to help all levels of football around the UK.
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