Website operators streaming pirated content are greatly benefiting from automated ad-buying solutions, giving them a valuable line of revenue. Piracy websites don't pay for the content they stream, so it's possible to earn profit margins from 80 percent up to 94 percent - generating upwards of $100,000 per year in advertising revenue.
Online websites that stream pirated TV episodes and movies generated $227 million in advertising revenue, according to a MediaLink study commissioned by Digital Citizens Alliance that analyzed 596 websites. Copyright holders are desperately trying to clamp down on Internet piracy, though have found it to be a very difficult battle.
"We work diligently to protect our content so it's unfortunate that ad dollars are finding their way to illegal video sites, most likely unbeknownst to the brands involved," said Jeff Cusson, HBO spokesperson, told Wall Street Journal.