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Examining the Most Pirated Movies and TV Shows of 2022

Hey there! Illegal downloading and streaming of movies and shows – aka piracy – probably feels like a harmless victimless crime to many out there. But it actually results in massive losses for the entertainment industry, to the tune of billions annually.

For instance, global piracy losses were estimated at $71 billion in 2022 alone according to research firm Muso. This was actually a marginal improvement over the previous year‘s $81 billion as studios keep up anti-piracy efforts. However, piracy remains a huge concern.

To understand what content is being pirated the most, Muso put together an exclusive list for Variety of the most popular pirated movies and shows of 2022 across various illegal platforms. Let‘s check out the top 10 titles and what we can learn from the patterns.

Big Franchise Movies Are Like Catnip for Pirates

It comes as no surprise that piracy targets blockbuster franchise releases above all else. Check out 2022‘s list of most pirated movies:

  1. Spider-Man: No Way Home
  2. The Batman
  3. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness
  4. Thor: Love and Thunder
  5. Top Gun: Maverick

You noticing a trend? Marvel and DC superhero flicks dominate with 5 of the top 10 spots. These are movies with massive fandoms and marketing budgets, where hype and anticipation fuels early piracy. Last year‘s #1 pirated movie Spiderman: No Way Home raked in over $1.9 billion at the box office too.

Pirated copies get shared rapidly among fans online across torrents, streaming sites, social media and even messaging apps. And this directly takes a bite out of box office revenues.

Beyond English: International TV Dominates Pirated Charts

Now let‘s examine the list of the most pirated TV shows. Compared to legal platforms like Netflix, this list has a very international flavor:

  1. House of the Dragon (HBO)
  2. Chainsaw Man (Anime)
  3. Bleach (Anime)
  4. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Amazon Prime)
  5. Moon Knight (Disney+)

See anything interesting? The list tilts heavily toward non-English language and anime shows. This highlights the content gaps that exist across different regions. For instance, popular anime series are often unavailable on major platforms like Netflix or Disney+ in many Western countries. Fans then turn to piracy.

This reveals an opportunity for studios – acquiring rights for wider distribution across global markets can help combat piracy for international titles.

The Costs of Piracy Go Beyond Revenue

Let‘s go a bit deeper on why piracy represents an urgent issue for the entertainment sector. At surface level, illegal streaming results in obvious losses in subscription, rental or box office income.

But piracy also diminishes the incentives for creating quality productions. With lower profit potential, studios reduce budgets or greenlight fewer projects, costing jobs for cast and crew.

For instance in 2022, for every $1 billion lost to piracy, an estimated 8,500 jobs within the film and TV industry were at risk according to Business Alliance to Counter Crime.

Piracy even stifles creativity and diversity, as smaller niche productions become less viable. The end result – you the audience get less choice and lower quality content.

The Cat and Mouse Game Between Pirates and Anti-Piracy Tech

Billions in piracy losses does indicate that studios need to keep doubling down on enforcement efforts. Industry groups like Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) have filed lawsuits against illegal streaming platforms and won.

But pirates also continue to evolve. They adopt new technologies like streaming on "cyberlockers" instead of torrents, using VPNs to mask activity and routing payments via crypto. As soon as one door shuts, another opens up.

Anti-piracy measures also need to keep pace. Advanced watermarking using visual, audio and metadata cues makes unauthorized copying easier to detect. Digital rights management (DRM) also limits piracy by locking content to individual accounts.

But stronger laws and site blocking are still essential to make a real dent on this issue. It‘s a true cat and mouse dynamic!

Changing Access Models to Serve Fans Better

Piracy clearly highlights consumer frustration regarding limitations in how fans can access their favorite content. Viewers are often left with no options but to pirate shows that aren‘t available legally in their countries or on their preferred platforms.

But the industry is waking up to this. We‘re increasingly seeing initiatives like:

  • Worldwide simultaneous releases rather than country-wise delays

  • Making content available across more streaming platforms

  • Offering affordable pricing and mobile-friendly access options

  • Quicker streaming release for movies (reduces reliance on shady sites for new titles)

The goal is to make legal access more convenient and hassle-free for you the viewer. This will ensure that time spent pirating can be recaptured into the legitimate ecosystem.

So next time, consider signing up for that new streaming service or waiting just a little longer for a title to release officially. It makes a genuine difference in enabling the movies and shows you love while curbing piracy!


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