On August 12th, Martha De Laurentiis, Executive Producer of the television show “Hannibal,” wrote an op-ed in Ad Age entitled “Marketers: Stop Advertising on Pirate Sites.” In it, she speaks out against ad-supported piracy and tells a story about how online piracy directly affects her job:
My own show, "Hannibal," was the fifth most-stolen TV show during its first season on the air, despite being available for legal digital streaming the very next day. While I appreciate the enthusiasm of our fans, as executive producer I am responsible for all production costs for the show. Piracy directly affects my bottom line, including the wages for hundreds of cast and crewmembers.
Ms. De Laurentiis is a proud member of the Leadership Committee of CreativeFuture, a coalition of more than 400 companies and organizations in the creative industries. CreativeFuture recently launched a letter-writing campaign directed at major companies whose ads routinely appear on websites which facilitate access to illegal content. In her op-ed, Ms. De Laurentiis said “most advertisers are unaware that their ads appear on pirate sites,” so simply warning them is a good first step. And because many of these global brands have reputations to protect, CreativeFuture’s efforts will help remove advertising revenue from pirate websites. Ms. De Laurentiis declared that “[w]ithout their ad dollars, we can take the profit out of piracy.”
In a May 2015 blog entitled “Ad-Supported Piracy Remains a Serious Problem,” Free State Foundation President Randolph May cited a Digital Citizens Alliance report which found that a sample of 589 pirate websites generated an estimated $209 million in aggregate annual revenue from advertising in 2014. But while the problem is still large, Mr. May is optimistic because there was an $18 million decrease in illegal aggregate ad revenue from 2013 to 2014. This decrease may be attributable to several voluntary initiatives which help to fight online piracy and intellectual property infringements. Brand Integrity Program Against Piracy, WheretoWatch.com, Rightscorp, and now CreativeFuture have emerged to aid consumers in finding legal content and in raising awareness about websites, enterprises, and advertisers that violate intellectual property rights.
Diminishing ad-supported piracy is important to help ensure that content providers, artists, innovators, and marketers can earn a return on their creative works - incentivizing more innovation, investment, and economic growth.