Megaupload Shutdown Boosted TV and VOD Services

The French government agency responsible for administering the country's '3 strikes' anti-piracy scheme is reporting that online TV and other VOD services have received a boost following the shutdown of Megaupload. According to Hadopi, these authorized outlets enjoyed an average growth of nearly 26% in the weeks immediately after the Hong Kong based site was shuttered.

According to figures released last month by Médiamétrie, Megaupload’s Megavideo was one of France’s most popular Internet video services. In December 2011, Megavideo ranked 9th behind market leaders YouTube and big names such as Daily Motion, Canal + and Vimeo, pulling in nearly 3 million visitors.

But by January 19th it was all over. Megaupload and all its sister companies were closed down in now-infamous raids and its French users – between them viewing nearly 97.5 million videos per month – had to make alternative arrangements.

According to a new report by Hadopi, the French agency tasked with administering the country’s 3 strikes anti-piracy strategy, many of them turned to authorized services.

Hadopi say they used data compiled by Médiamétrie/ Netratings on approximately 50 authorized video platforms. Stats were gathered from 22 free sites (excluding YouTube, Dailymotion and Vimeo), 12 TV ‘catch-up’ services, 12 premium VOD services and 4 other aggregators/portals.

Hadopi says the data, which was collected after Megaupload’s shutdown date of January 19th and ran to the end of the month, shows that overall the VOD, catchup TV and aggregator platforms enjoyed a significant 25.7% growth when compared to the weeks immediately prior to the site’s closure.

When broken down the aggregators and portals enjoyed the biggest uplift in visitors of some 85%, premium VOD second with 35%, followed by TV catchup services with a 25% increase.

The free streaming sites, on the other hand, suffered a 20% reduction in visitors during the same period.

According to reports by Numerama, last month French media outfit Canal + reported a 20% rise in sales on their VOD platform since the closure of Megaupload, with national TV channel TF1 reporting a 40% boost.

However, increases in traffic were not simply restricted to authorized content outlets. As already noted here on TorrentFreak, in the wake of the Megaupload closure many of the site’s competitors such as Rapidshare, Uploaded.to, Depositfiles and Hotfile, also enjoyed surges in traffic.

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But as can be seen from the updated traffic graph above, while the first three hosters appear to have kept a decent proportion of the traffic initially gained, Hotfile’s traffic is already back to pre-January 19th levels. It will be very interesting to see if the short-term fortunes of the sites surveyed by Médiamétrie will show a similar trend to that demonstrated by Hotfile once the panic has subsided, or if they will maintain their new levels.

To get a better idea of the longer term consumer response to the Mega shutdown we will have to wait and see what figures Médiamétrie return for February, March and April. The closure of Mega on January 19th will have undoubtedly prompted a knee jerk reaction by users and flight to other services of all different shapes and sizes, but whether they stay put or move again remains to be seen.

According to the indictment against Megaupload there will now be at least hundreds of millions of dollars to be shared among ‘legitimate’ companies now Kim Dotcom’s company has gone. Whether the coffers of authorized video providers will benefit in line with the traffic increases suggested above is the really big question, and one yet to be answered.

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