A request by the German political party the FDP in the Bundestag in October 2018 shows how important the issue of illegal distribution of TV content via the Internet (IPTV) really is.
Obviously, the FDP based their request on a study carried out by the Vaunet association from August 2018. The association’s study examined the usage behaviour of consumers and tried to quantify the economic damage. According to the study, this amounted to € 700 million for Germany alone.
However, the provider’s view is missing in the analysis. Illegal services are not isolated. They require many intermediaries to function. These intermediaries play an important, if not decisive, role in solving the problem. A key role is played in particular by data centres from which illegal IPTV streams are „sent“ into the world wide web. France – La Grande Nation when it comes to illegal IPTV weiterlesen
For this ad hoc study, FDS File Defense Service and the IVD took a closer look at the intermediaries of the illegal IPTV streams. For this purpose, 25 relevant websites were examined. The sites regularly provide playlists in the form of M3U files (station and channel lists).
Such channel lists bring together a channel of IPTV streams and a receiver in a very convenient way. The M3U file is simply loaded into a program and the customer can see the channel lists and gets access to the channels in his program.
It becomes even more convenient with set-top boxes. Very often these are so-called KODI boxes, which then “conjure” the content on the TV screen.
The “free of charge” business model is used by such websites to distribute M3U files in order to lure in customers. Normally, M3U files have a very short lifetime (12 to 24 hours). Therefore, the user has to renew them permanently to use the free services. To avoid this hassle customers can simply pay a subscription fee. These illegal subscriptions cost only a fraction of the price of legal offers. For a mere € 10 or less a month there are hundreds of channels, including many Pay-TV channels.
This is not surprising because the distributors do not have any procurement costs for the content they market.
This study is based on approximately 45,000 transmitter and channel lists which are distributed by 25 web pages. These lists led to 211,000 analyzable illegal IPTV streams which were subsequently analyzed by origin (the data centre). In addition, the data home of the M3U Files distributing websites were examined. In the case of data centres spread over several countries, the headquarters of the main company was taken as the country of origin. IPTV – Data centres for illegal streaming services weiterlesen