In a study released by the Digital Citizens Alliance, researchers calculated that online streaming sites and BitTorrent sites that allow users to access pirated movies and television shows make up to $227 Million a year from advertising.
The 30 largest websites, such as The Pirate Bay, earn around $4.4 Million a year, with the largest sites making $6 Million a year from advertising. Smaller websites with less than 1 million unique visitors per month can make over $100,000 a year.
On average, across BitTorrent sites, streaming sites, full movie downloads, and linking sites, the profit margins for these websites is between 80 percent to 94 percent. The main driver of cost for these sites is the hosting fees, since all content is pirated.
Source: “Good Money Gone Bad: Digital Thieves and the Hijacking of the Online Ad Business,” Digital Citizens Alliance, February 2014.