ABS-CBN Corp. lost an estimated P300-400 million in potential movie revenues last year due to piracy, its data protection head told reporters after a forum on Monday.

ABS-CBN Head of Infosec and Data Protection Officer Jay C. Gomez said that the company’s movie revenues have been increasing every year, racking up more than a billion pesos annually.

But the rise of piracy, he said, has been directly proportional to the greater accessibility of technologies and social media.

“Ten years ago or 15 years ago, social media wasn’t prevalent yet. Data, the speed of data, now it’s faster. Even … the advent of phones. How much are smartphones now? You can buy a smartphone with P3,000,” he said in a mix of English and Filipino.

He said that the company had started implementing internal measures to protect its content. Measures include limiting the number of high resolution copies in the company, placing identifiable watermarks on copies, and banning cellphones from certain offices.

ABS-CBN is also working on increasing staff awareness about piracy.

Anselmo B. Adriano, chairman and chief executive officer of the Optical Media Board, said in a press conference that day that the agency’s mandate has not been expanded to penalize piracy outside of storage-based forms such as CDs and flash drives.

“There has to be a physical storage device. Anything on the internet, technically speaking, so if you share links — it is not part of our mandate,” he said.

During his presentation at the forum, Mr. Gomez said that Filipinos pirate films for several reasons, including the belief that they can get away with it and the idea that there is no cultural taboo against piracy in the country.

He also said that the ability to pirate movies is often considered a badge of honor, especially for films that have been receiving “hype” on social media.

Facebook, he said, is the platform of choice for spreading pirated material. — Jenina P. Ibañez