Higher traditional TV and streaming usage makes sense with far more workers at home or, unfortunately, out of work, due to the pandemic.
But such viewing isn’t the only higher activity. Think pirated content. BitTorrent usage has spiked, according to Zscaler, a data security firm that monitors networks at major companies.
Does that make sense in a world of growing legitimate, even free media possibilities?
Rising downloads of pirated content may be because at-home employees are free of workplace constraints, says Zscaler: “Employees tend to be more careful about what they download in the office.”
At the same time, there is lower usage in social media -- Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and the like. The explanation: Users typically like to share content obtained when they are away from home.
One might think the rise of pirated content could come from boredom as well -- especially when cabin-fever behavior increases. Perhaps, growing stir crazy is responsible, in part, for a number of protests around the country pushing state lawmakers to “open” up states to business again, despite health professionals warning against such actions.
The downside to some of this, says Zscaler, comes with much more computer/device crushing malware attached to some pirated content.
Another intriguing aspect is that while there has been a natural and expected rise in Netflix usage — as well as higher first-quarter global subscribers to the tune of 15.8 million — usage of Spotify is down, says Zscaler -- which has high popularity among office workers.
We can imagine then, that since commuting to work has been sharply diminished in the U.S. over the last month and a half, all types of audio content, traditional over-the-air radio, has also been hurting -- advertising and non-advertising supported. Throw in outdoor media impressions as well taking a hit.
Top pirated shows of 2019, according to TorrentFreak, were two HBO series: “Game of Thrones” and “Chernobyl.” Next was Disney+’s “The Mandarlorian,” WarnerMedia’s “The Big Bang Theory,” MGM Television’s “Vikings,” AMC Networks’ “The Walking Dead,” WarnerMedia’s “The Flash,” “Supergirl,” “Arrow” and “Rick and Morty.”
Does that tell you anything?