2 in 5 Singaporeans actively stream illegal content online – and they watch it on their TV sets

Online piracy has become rampant in the past decade – hitting many TV shows and blockbuster movies hard in the gut.

Season 7 of Game of Thrones has been pirated more than one billion times – and the series regularly tops the ‘most pirated TV shows’ list.

This epidemic continues despite the emergence of legal content consumption options online, such as Netflix.

According to the latest study commissioned by the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (Casbaa), two in five Singaporeans actively tune into pirated content, the Straits Times (ST) reports.

63% of those polled stated that they watched illegal content online because it is free.

According to the daily, research firm Sycamore polled 1,000 Singapore residents aged 18 to 64 online in April this year and interviewed about 300 users of media players.

Many Singaporeans who consume illegal content online do so through media players, otherwise known as Android boxes, that allow them to stream such content on their TV sets.

The study also found that consumers buy these boxes based on recommendations from friends, and often have little understanding of how the technology works.

In fact, 1 in 3 of those surveyed thought that usage of the box was legal while another one third were unsure.

While some may argue that using these devices falls into a “grey” area of legality, Casbaa’s chief policy officer John Medeiros disagrees.

In the ST report, he says : “These boxes are sold for the purpose of piracy. It’s not a grey area. It’s piracy.”

NBC Universal Networks Asia’s managing director Christine Fellowes says: “We hope the Singapore Government will use this latest survey to inform their future legislative and enforcement choices”.