Streaming, legal or illegal ?

The consumption of cultural property online evolves

Since October 2009 in France,  the High Authority for the Distribution and Protection of Creativity on the Internet, known by the French acronym, HADOPI, has been fighting against the bootlegging of cultural content. The warnings that HADOPI sends every day to bootleggers are flooding mailboxes. In parallel, the subscribers to legitimate sites like Netflix are multiplying, in France, they are 2,3 million, this brings hope to the new paid services but is a low figure nonetheless regarding total consumption.

French love having easy access to their films, music, and series, 78% of Internet users watch or listen content online in 2017 against the 70% in 2016. Another element that brings hope to the industry is this: illegal consumption is apparently not the first choice for internet users because currently, only 4% use illicit offers.

Legal offers keep multiplying, even if Netflix and Canalplay maintain a monopoly. Streaming On Demand (SOD) is well received in France. Internet users are ready to try out new proposals and companies, but the challenge remains on retaining them and obtaining their loyalty. If the search titled is not available in the catalog, there’s a big chance that the user will open a new tab and click on an illegal offer. The SVOD systems, therefore, have to continually diversify their catalogs to attract those that regularly use illegal platforms.

The big guys take up space and delay the release of new offers.

Tonjé Bakang, CEO of Afrostream a platform for African, Afro-Caribbean and Afro-American films and TV shows recently announced the closure of his streaming site. The project intended to increase the visibility of the African film community. The closing of the site represents the end of the adventures of a team that denounced the stiff competition of free streaming sites and the pressure that companies like Netflix, Canalplay and Amazon Video represent.

The end of Afrostream does not mean the end for smaller and specialized SOD platforms in France. Even more targeted services and with more of a thematic catalog are being created and released to the public in the last years. The sector is growing with examples like Tënk, a documentary platform, Outbuster for indie films or Nowave created for the “Cinema d’Auteur.” The question is, will they survive?

The battle to attract Internet users to legal streaming services has just started.

Ana Victoria Torres


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