Do the French accept to pay for their television programs? It would seem that no, according to a study of the Hadopi . The Internet policeman reveals that 25% of Internet users hack the content of television channels. More precisely, 5% of the French would use for this an IPTV (Internet Protocol TeleVision) system, an illegal technique allowing to watch the television at a lower cost thanks to a small box connected to the Internet. Canal +, RMC Sport, beIN, or Orange Ciné Séries; all the programs of these paid bouquets are thus accessible for a hundred euros a year.

The study reveals that these practices have intensified since the 2018 World Cup, a part of which was broadcast on pay channels, but also since RMC Sport obtained the rights to broadcast the UEFA Champions League in detriment of Canal + and beIN Sports. Consequence: the channels of diffusion have multiplied, as well as the subscriptions for the French wishing to follow all the meetings. An unsustainable situation for many viewers, who preferred to turn to piracy.

Originally legal, this technology has been diverted from its original use. It allowed hotels and hospitals to broadcast programs simultaneously on multiple TVs. IPTV is now used by French households to obtain paid content in their homes. Its use has never been so massive and for good reason: to enjoy it, just buy discreetly a small box available on the internet and in specialized store. The rate of use in the year is simply unbeatable, around 110 euros on average. As a comparison, the subscriptions to Canal +, beIN Sports and OCS cost respectively 240, 180 and 120 euros per year! Overall, “an annual subscription to IPTV is cheaper than accumulating 3 subscriptions to bouquets for 1 month,” says the Hadopi. Since then,

TV channels organize the response

But is it really a good plan? The administrative authority warns the malicious people who would use it, because the viewing of pirated content is considered an infringement of copyright or as infringement, according to a judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union, rendered in 2017. A strictly illegal practice, punishable by 3 years in prison and 300,000 euros fine. Another black spot: the reliability of IPTV would not be at the rendezvous. 40% of users report bugs or technical problems and 36% are worried about the risk of infection by a computer virus or malware.


The study of the Hadopi also reveals that 54% of IPTV users have unsubscribed from a legal offer since they use this illegal service. The shortfall is considerable for the television channels, which pay dearly for the broadcasting rights of the content they reserve for their customers. To stop the haemorrhage of subscribers, broadcasters and right-holders have joined forces with an association for the protection of sports programs (APPS). Launched in January 2018, this lobby aims to put pressure on the legislator to obtain a law against piracy of content.

Some tracks are under study, such as preventing SEO on sites that offer the purchase of IPTV, or block the dissemination of flows through the complicity of the providers. But at present, these solutions are only at the project stage, because they imply a perfect cooperation between actors of the sector with sometimes opposite interests. In the meantime, the IPTV still has a bright future ahead of him.

* Study of the Hadopi, conducted by the FIFG, from 27 November 2018 to 3 January 2019 among a representative sample of 1,000 Internet users, supplemented by an over-sample of 800 illicit consumers of live TV programs.