One of the oft-quoted phrases in anti-piracy circles is ‘follow the money’. In this case, it refers to identifying how piracy sites make their money, then trying to squeeze those revenue streams by persuading payment processors and advertising networks to withdraw their services.

A new report published by consumer group the Digital Citizens Alliance has focused on the advertising side of this issue.

“The bad actors who operate in the illegal, underground market for pirated movies, TV shows, and other forms of content theft are reaping an estimated $1.34 billion in annual revenues through advertising on websites and illicit streaming apps,” is its headline claim.

That breaks down into $1.08bn of ad revenues for websites and $259m for apps, with the most popular examples in those categories averaging $18.3m and $27.6m of annual ad revenues respectively, according to the report’s calculations.

The report also trains its attention on Amazon, Facebook and Google, who it claims account for 73% of all ‘major brands’ ads within piracy apps. It suggests that while the big tech companies have tried to stop their ads appearing on piracy websites, they need to do this for apps too.

You can read the full report here.

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