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Millions of USD lost every month from unlicensed OTT apps

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About 50,000 people use unlicensed OTT apps on Android box a month, according to some estimates. Collecting fees through scratch cards, the unlicensed apps may earn billions of dong of illicit profits.

A lot of big players have jumped into the OTT TV market, from traditional TV content providers such as VTV Cab and K+ to technology firms such as VNG, Vega and iFlix. 

The service providers not only have to compete fiercely with each other, but also with unlicensed OTT apps. The apps don’t have operation licenses and don’t have to spend money to build content, but can collect money from users.

A report from Statista about VOD market in Vietnam showed that 3.3 percent of the population would use VOD services by 2017, while the figure is expected to increase to 5.9 percent by 2021. 

However, the ARPU (average rate per unit) in Vietnam is lower than the average level in the world by 10 times, at $5.78.

The representative of an authentic OTT firm said that according to Google’s statistics, the number of VOD viewers in Vietnam is just second to the number of social network users, but most of them watch film easily on unlicensed websites.

He went on to say that the unlicensed OTT apps such as Fly Play have caused big losses to licensed content and TV service providers.

If noting that 30,000 Android devices are sold in the market every month and people can install apps on their phones themselves, he estimates that the number of illegal OTT apps could be up to 50,000 a month. This means that billions of dong of revenue are going to the pocket of illegal OTT app firms.

Analysts noted that foreign TV channels have been provided across the border to Vietnamese viewers, thanks to illegal OTT apps, for a long time, especially in HCMC.

Nguyen Duc Hoa, CEO of HTV-TMS, once complained that many foreign subscribers stopped using HTV-TMS services to shift to watch foreign TV channels through illegal OTT apps.

The representatives from BHD and Galaxy, the two biggest VOD service providers in Vietnam, complained that the punishments on copyright infringement in Vietnam are not heavy enough to stop the use of illegal apps.

“Pirated film services are offered by vendors on the pavement. When the police appear, the vendors flee for other pavements,” the representative from BHD said. “It is necessary to impose heavy punishment on illegal websites.”

Internet experts said the OTT app boom has put big challenges for management agencies. If they apply tight management, users would use unlicensed apps, but if they loosen management, this would hinder the development of the firms that respect the copyright.

 

Source:  VietNamNet

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