Online piracy remains high in Philippines, new survey shows

A survey released on Thursday, October 15, showed that online piracy remained high in the Philippines, especially compared to neighboring Indonesia and Malaysia.

The survey, commissioned by Asia Video Industry Association's (AVIA) Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) and conducted by British market research firm YouGov, found that 49% still access streaming piracy websites or torrent sites. The highest level of incidence was among the 25 to 34 age demographic, wherein 53% admitted to having used such services.

In the region, Vietnam, Hongkong, and Thailand have similar online piracy rates at 50%, 48%, and 53% respectively. However, the Philippines' figures are more up-to-date as the survey for the country was conducted in September 2020. Vietnam, Hongkong, and Thailand's numbers are from September 2019, May 2020, and February 2020 respectively.

While the Philippines and other countries hover around the 50% mark, the report found significant improvements in Malaysia and Indonesia. For Malaysia, the report found a 64% reduction from 2019, with piracy incidence now just at 22%. Indonesia now has a piracy incidence rate of 28% down from 63% in 2019.

The decline in online piracy level was primarily attributed to government-led initiatives on blocking piracy sites.

The CAP wants such measures pursued in the Philippines as well, with telco Globe expressing support.

A bill is now in the Philippine Senate, called the Online Infringement Bill. The bill will give authorities power over internet service providers to ensure that reasonable steps are taken "to disable access to sites whenever these sites are reported to be infringing copyright or facilitating copyright infringement."

Globe also has a #PlayItRight program that aims to inform people that online piracy is harmful. “The ill effects of online piracy cannot be underestimated.  We have been an advocate of content streaming through legal sites only through our #PlayItRight program. This advocacy educates people on the impacts of online piracy and  on making the right choices when it comes to online consumption," said Ernest Cu, Globe CEO.

The survey also showed that about 47% of those who accessed piracy sites cancelled their subscription to legitimate streaming services.

Filipino consumers also showed awareness of the harms of online piracy, with the survey showing that they were concerned about piracy activities funding crime groups, creatives losing jobs, and risks of malware infection.

Neil Gane, the general manager of AVIA, said, “We all know that piracy, whether it’s the cable and satellite industry in the Philippines, certainly impacts those in front of the camera, behind the camera, those who
are making television content and movie content in local platforms and the theaters as well as international platforms.” –

Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.