Representatives of Universal, Endemol and YouTube believe the power is in their hands to fight the spread of music and movie piracy.
Piracy is estimated to cost the South African music industry alone R500 million ($56 million) every year and at a ‘Digital Gurus’ panel at AfricaCom 2012 today (Thursday), the media leaders agreed they needed to create an African culture of value to products, by attracting users through ‘cheaper, faster and better access’.
Sivan Pillay, Managing Director of Endemol South Africa, said: “It is quite simple. Piracy in any market is directly relevant to a couple of things – the cost of the product and access to it. Pirated products are always cheaper and more accessible.”
Patrick Walker, Senior Director for Content Partnerships at YouTube, agreed, but said YouTube had found a way to entice producers into co-operating with illegal uploads.
He said: “Lack of access is the biggest driver of piracy, or what I call ‘unauthorised use’. A lot of the people accessing the content aren’t pirates, they just want to view the products.”
Walker added the other way to combat piracy is encouraging the producers to “re-claim” their material on sites such as YouTube. The online video giant built a technology called ‘User ID’ which allows the producers, after completing a verification process, to stamp their mark on the illegally uploaded video. YouTube will then monetise the video with adverts and revenue which will return revenue to the producer.
Sylvain Mahy, Head of Digital Music at Universal South Africa, said: “Piracy is an issue around the world. The best way to beat it is to create the right music sources with the right content for Africans and show people there is a value.”
Dirk La Roux, Managing Director of Afrozaar & Android Evangelist, picked out M-PESA as an example for using the right platform to sell music.
He said: “If you make it convenient then people will be happy to pay. If you release a song in Africa make sure people can buy it on M-PESA. Africans are no different to anyone else. We might not have as much money, but we still want to access something quickly and convenient.”