MORE AND more Filipinos are consuming content on the Internet with statistics portal, Statista.com, predicting that 52.3% of Filipinos will have access to the Internet by 2018. And because of this affinity, Filipinos are also consuming more and more illegally downloaded or streamed content on the Internet.
December 2016 data from commercial Web traffic data and analytics company Alexa.com shows that there have been over 22 million visits to infringing websites in the Philippines compared to the 18 million visits to the top three legal sites (Netflix, iflix, and HOOQ) for movies and shows.
In a bid to halt online piracy which is said to hurt content creators and the country’s film industry, local telecommunications company Globe Telecom has launched its #PlayitRight campaign — an advocacy meant to educate Filipinos about online piracy and its impact on the local entertainment industry.
“It’s mostly millennials who are doing the torrenting. Unaware of the risks, they are the most vulnerable,” said Yolanda Crisanto, SVP for corporate communications of Globe Telecom during a press conference celebrating World Intellectual Property Rights Day 2018 on April 20 at Felix Restaurant in Makati City.
Ms. Crisanto said that downloading content illegally — aside from being a crime — puts users at risk of getting viruses and malware onto their systems.
On Dec. 23, 2017, Globe uploaded what were supposed to be Metro Manila Film Festival (MMFF) entries and other Filipino films onto torrent and streaming sites, but instead of seeing a movie like Siargao, or Meant to Beh, or Gandarrapiddo: The Revenger Squad, the unwitting downloaders were treated to a video featuring actors and film crews recounting how hard they had to work to make their films.
“Piracy Against Piracy [the downloaded video] sends a strong message to everyone on the effects and realities of piracy in the industry — that every illegal download affects hundreds of cast and crew members whose jobs support their families,” says Quark Henares, director of Globe Studios in a statement.
The video highlights how bad the problem has gotten — the same 2017 Alexa data showed that there was a 75.14% increase in page views of streaming piracy websites between 2016 and 2017 while torrent and P2P sites showed a decrease — in 2016, MovieLabs data stated that 787 million movie and TV downloads were made via torrent compared to 502 million movie and TV downloads in 2017.
“In a country with more than 100 million people, we have such low cinema admissions,” said May Liza Diño-Seguerra, chairman and CEO of the Film Development Council of the Philippines at the same April 20 conference.
She noted that only 51.5 million cinema admissions were recorded in 2017. But if piracy is stopped, it is expected that box-office revenue would increase by 15%, she said, citing a February 2017 study by the Carnegie Mellon University on the impact of movie piracy on box-office revenue.
“[We have to] instill a culture of appreciation in how Filipinos view films,” she said before explaining that the annual Pista ng Pelikulang Pilipino, which is held every August, is a small step in promoting the local film industry as only Filipino films will be shown for an entire week in select cinemas nationwide. — Zsarlene B. Chua