Some 589 top content sites stealing movie and TV content grabbed $209 million in 2014, according to a recent survey from lobbying group Digital Citizens Alliance and media consultant MediaLink LLC. This was about the same level as the year before, when 596 sites generated $227 million in advertising in 2013.
The study says although some 40% of those sites were shut down or downsized that year, advertising around these illegal sites rose to the same level.
Research indicates that 60% of the digital video ads served by sites with available data were “laundered” -- served through fake sites to obscure the ads' ultimate destination. For 15% of the sites, all of the impressions were fraudulent.
The study says said premium video streaming sites continue to grow -- up 40% in 2014, with content thieves benefiting from higher video ad prices.
MediaLink says the results came from sites with 25 or more takedown requests in the third quarter and had ad links, unique visitor and page view data available from comScore.
Results were also validated through DoubleVerify, Integral Ad Science, Veri-Site and Incopro ratings.