A recent study by Finder.com underlined the extent of how much piracy is a problem within English Premier League broadcasting.

Analysing the evolution of sports streaming habits, it revealed that almost one in 10 Brits admit to having illegally streamed at least one Premier League game over the past 12 months.

It also revealed that of those who illegally stream content, including films and TV shows, a quarter (24%) view Premier League games.

We followed up with the personal finance comparison site’s CEO, Jon Ostler, who highlighted the important role of subscription services, as well as what he believes needs to be done by media rights holders to hinder the growth of piracy.

InsiderSport: How can the study be used by broadcasters and rights holders to combat piracy and maximise their rights? 

Jon Ostler“The question of how piracy is combatted is an extremely difficult one, but this study highlights the seriousness and urgent nature of the problem facing broadcasters. It’s not just the case that a few people are streaming games, but millions of people.”

InsiderSport: Do you think more flexible subscription methods could be introduced to ensure fans pay for live football?  

Jon Ostler“We have seen NowTV and others introduce flexible sports streaming packages and this certainly seems to be a logical way to combat illegal streaming. Not all fans can pay large amounts for satellite TV packages that include a wide range of channels, so giving them the option to just pay for sports should dissuade many from turning to illegal methods. 

“Realistically, there is always going to be a demand for free (illegal) streaming, but some won’t mind paying a little bit for the guarantee of an uninterrupted connection, HD quality and the fact that they’re not breaking the law.”

InsiderSport: Lastly, what do you believe can be done to combat the piracy of Premier League football?

Jon Ostler“It is important to continue exploring flexible subscription and payment options. The ‘all-in’ satellite bundles may have worked in the past when illegal streaming wasn’t possible, but this research shows that a lot of people are deciding to forgo this model and stream games for free instead. Continued policing of illegal streams would obviously have an impact as well, but this is easier said than done.

“Ultimately, if illegal streaming offers a better service than paid streaming – for example with the Saturday 3pm games that aren’t legally accessible – then this is going to be difficult to overcome. As seen in other industries like with music, the traditional commercial models will need to evolve to meet the needs of a more connected and savvy audience.”

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