Pirated DVD business struggles amid streaming trend in Indonesia

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/ANN) – Pirated DVDs are facing a gloomy business as people prefer to watch movies through streaming channels.

Several years back, movie buffs in Jakarta knew how to catch up with the latest episodes of their favourite TV series or box office movie: By going to pirated DVD sellers mushrooming in the city.

Now, in the era of streaming, which offers a more practical way to watch movies, the shops selling pirated DVDs are struggling to attract customers.

Just two years ago, such shops could be found throughout the city, in shopping centres such as the famous Glodok in West Jakarta, ITC Kuningan and Mall Ambassador in South Jakarta, Mangga Dua Square in North Jakarta as well as tucked away near bus terminals and in residential areas.

The vendors sell a wide collection of movies and TV series for as little as IDR8,000 (USD0.56) per disk.

People browse DVDs at the ITC Fatmawati commerce centre in Jakarta. – THE JAKARTA POST/ANN

These shops have raised eyebrows, as they thrive on copyright infringements yet keep running openly despite occasional police raids. However, some of these vendors are shutting their doors now, not because of their questionable legal status, but because the business no longer guarantees the huge profits it used to.

Sofyan, 27, whose father’s DVD shop still survives on Jalan Palmerah Barat in West Jakarta, said a number of similar shops in the area had closed down recently. “The number of my competitors may have declined, but the selling power (of pirated DVDs) remains low,” he told The Jakarta Post at the shop last Friday.

He said he had seen fewer customers since 2017, as people opted for online streaming services, including legal streaming platforms Netflix, iFlix and Viu, which provide a wide collection of movies and TV series at the affordable price of around IDR150,000 per month.

Besides the legal services, many people now also opt to turn to illegal streaming and download websites.

He acknowledged that people now resorted to such practical services, as Internet access was no longer a luxury.