Did you ever wonder what it costs to run a massive pirate IPTV operation? Well after prosecuting the Flawless IPTV operators, the costs of running their IPTV service were revealed.
A few weeks ago, we saw the sentencing of five individuals, marking the culmination of the UK’s largest-ever IPTV prosecution.
The primary focus of this in-depth investigation was Flawless IPTV and its operations from August 2016 to May 2018.
Flawless IPTV provided services to approximately 42,000 direct customers during this period, charging each around £10 per month. This was UK’s most popular IPTV service at the time.
The service also employed about 100 resellers who had the freedom to set their own prices. These resellers had around 20,000 subscribers, from whom Flawless received a £6 cut per subscription each month.
The prosecution estimated that Flawless generated gross revenues of approximately £4.6 million. However, this was only an educated guess, as the actual figure might be higher.
The uncertainty stemmed from Flawless’s decision to start accepting Bitcoin payments from subscribers in 2018, making it impossible to obtain concrete evidence of the total amount received.
While revenues were difficult to ascertain, the service’s outgoings were thoroughly documented.
Costs of Running Flawless IPTV Service
Records from bank and PayPal accounts revealed payments to multiple entities worldwide, providing a glimpse into the operating costs of Flawless and the distribution of payments to different individuals and entities.
Between August 2016 and May 2018, Flawless IPTV employed at least 23 people, apart from the six main operators.
Documents from the investigation showed that the total payments to these employees exceeded £439,300, representing the largest expense for the operation.
Moreover, every IPTV operation necessitates two critical components: a supply of pirate streams and servers to distribute these streams to subscribers.
Media reports highlighted that Flawless utilized both its own methods to procure streams from legal suppliers and also purchased from ‘wholesale’ pirate stream suppliers.
For the reasons mentioned above, the names of the stream suppliers are also redacted here. However, they include what is likely to be the world’s largest wholesale supplier of pirate IPTV streams.
Flawless’s second-largest expense after employee salaries were hosting providers.
These providers, which included well-known international corporations, were paid over £281,600 for their services between February 2017 and April 2018. None of them have been accused of wrongdoing.
In addition to these major costs, Flawless also spent £28,000 on app development, around £12,200 to Xtream Codes (which shut down in 2019), £9,500 to card-sharing suppliers, £3,600 to Sky viewing card suppliers, and £1,200 to the WHMCS billing platform.
Over its 22-month lifespan, Flawless spent at least £818,200 on staff and suppliers, averaging roughly £37,200 per month to keep the operation online.
However, the real costs, extending beyond monetary expenses, were significantly higher.
This investigation and prosecution illuminate the complicated financial operations of large-scale digital piracy services, and the successful outcome demonstrates the commitment of regulatory bodies to curb such illicit activities.
The stiff sentences handed down to the five men behind Flawless IPTV serve as a potent reminder of the legal repercussions associated with digital piracy.
For more information on this story, you can view the original report on TorrentFreak.
After doing more research on IPTV operations and resellers, we were baffled to find this video on YouTube.
Legal IPTV Streaming Options
It’s impossible for IPTV Wire to determine whether unverified IPTV services, apps, websites, or add-ons hold the proper licensing.
If and when an IPTV service is deemed illegal, we notify our users immediately and update reports on our website like this one to reflect that information.
In conclusion, the end-user is responsible for all content accessed through free IPTV apps and paid services.
See our detailed guide below for more information on the legality of IPTV and everything you need to know before streaming.
For 100% verified and legal IPTV providers, see the options listed below:
fuboTV is one of the most popular paid legal IPTV providers among cord-cutters around the globe, especially sports fanatics.
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Pluto TV is another popular free and legal IPTV application used by millions of cord-cutters.
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Check out our Pluto TV guide below for more information.
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