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Illegal Streaming, Mobile Piracy Surged in France in 2017

As France’s film and TV industries push for a tougher anti-piracy law, a study released Tuesday shows that streaming of illegal content increased by 15% and piracy via smartphones skyrocketed by 50% in 2017.

The study, which was conducted by French anti-piracy group ALPA, Mediametrie and the National Film Board, says that an average of 7,845 users watched illegal content every month in 2017, while 2.9 million smartphone users (8% of all mobile users) accessed pirated content.

Overall, 372 million videos were streamed illegally last year in France, and 81% of all illegal consumption occurred via 20 websites, out of more than 2,000 websites dedicated to piracy which have been identified by ALPA. The use of social networks to access streaming sites increased significantly last year.

Perhaps contrary to expectations, the average consumer of pirated content is 37 years old, and so not a “millennial,” and a third are considered upper class.

U.S. movies are traditionally the hardest hit by piracy in France. In 2017, American movies represented 54% of all films watched illegally, followed by local films (17%), the study says.

From January to December 2017, the most pirated films were Ron Howard’s “Inferno,”Robert Zemeckis’ “Allied,” Jérôme Commandeur and Alan Corno’s “Ma famille t’adore deja,” Martin Bourboulon’s “Papa ou Maman 2,” Dany Boon’s “Raid Dingue,” Guy Ritchie’s “King Arthur: Legend of the Sword,” Rupert Sanders’ “Ghost in the Shell,” James Gunn’s “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” Michael Bay’s “Transformers 5 : The Last Knight,” Nikolaj Arcel’s “The Dark Tower,” Luc Besson’s “Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets” and Tommy Wirkola’s “Seven Sisters.”

More than half of pirated series originate on pay-TV or subscription-based services; the remaining are series broadcast on free channels. The most pirated series in 2017 were “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Devious Maids,” “Flash,” “13 Reasons Why,” “The Walking Dead,” “Doctor Who,” “Game of Thrones” and “Stranger Things” (pictured).

The French film and TV industry has been pressing the government for more than a year to take concrete steps to curb piracy. In April, major guilds staged an extraordinary boycott of the gala reception hosted by the French minister of culture, Françoise Nyssen, to celebrate the French films selected at the Cannes Film Festival. Nyssen vowed that evening that she would tackle piracy and create a blacklist of illegal streaming sites.

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