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New CHOICE research reveals the two biggest drivers of piracy

9 December 2014

New research from CHOICE has found people who illegally download content are frustrated by cost and availability of content in Australia. Pirates are also more likely to support the content industry through legitimate purchases than other Australians.                       

The research found that the majority of Australians never download, stream or watch pirated TV shows and movies but that 33% of us have illegally downloaded or streamed content online. 

“This data shows that most Australians who pirate are even more willing to spend money on content than those who don’t pirate,” says CHOICE Director of Campaigns and Communications, Matt Levey.

“People who illegally download content are more likely to have a Quickflix account than the average Australian, and they are significantly more likely to pay to see a movie at the cinema. Some people have suggested we’re a nation of pirates but CHOICE has found we’re a nation of couch potatoes who seek out content, online and off.” 

“The report sheds new light on the reasons why Australians pirate film and TV. A substantial proportion of people are pirating because of the high cost of content in Australia, and the time differences between releases here and overseas.”

“The content industry says they’ve changed but we keep seeing ridiculous delays to get popular TV and movies to Australia. For example, superhero TV hit “The Flash” aired in the US on 7 October but Australians had to wait until 3 December, two months, before it was available on Foxtel. The internet has made it easier than ever to access content quickly, providers need to catch up.”

“There is a strong perception among pirates that content in Australia is more expensive than overseas. Given pirates are already willing to pay for content from Australian providers, giving them an easier way to access cheaper, legitimate content from overseas would help reduce the rates of piracy.” Mr Levey says.

“This research shows that the most effective way to dramatically reduce piracy is to fix the problems of cost and availability of content in Australia. As the research shows, consumers will pay for content on Quickflix, iTunes and Netflix but we want the right content at the right time.”

CHOICE, as a content creator, does not support or condone piracy. It has used its submission to the Competition Policy Review Draft Report to support key recommendations that would reduce piracy by facilitating cheaper content for Australians. This includes by enabling more consumers to take legal steps to circumvent geoblocks.                                              

CHOICE’s survey showed that reform in this area has substantial public support, with 59 per cent of respondents agreeing that they should not be blocked from accessing TV shows and movies from legitimate overseas websites.

Notes to editors:

The survey was conducted with 1046 participants from the general population from 31 October to 7 November 2014 by iView for CHOICE. Final data was weighted to ensure it is representative of the Australian population as per ABS Census 2011.

Summary of research:

  • 67% of Australians never download or stream pirated movies or TV shows. 33% of people have pirated content, 23% of people pirate content at least monthly.
  • 50% of pirates said that their main reason for pirating was price, and 41% said it was because they wanted specific content sooner than available in Australia.
  • Most consumers (55%) try to use legal sources first, before searching out pirated copies of content.
  • People who pirate at least monthly are more likely to pay for content through an iTunes or Apple TV subscription. 29% of people who pirate also pay for content through an iTunes compared to 16% of the general population and 12% of people who never pirate.
  • Pirates are also more likely to have a Quickflix account. 11% of people who pirate at least monthly have a Quickflix account compared to 5% of the general population and 3% of people who never pirate.
  • People who pirate at least monthly are significantly more likely than the average to go to the movies or cinema. 36% of the general population go to the movies at least monthly, 56% of people who regularly pirate go to the movies at least monthly.

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