Pirates buy more content than those who play by the rules claims Choice study

seven piracy proof photoPirates have emerged as the surprise supporters of the content industry and are more likely to pay for movies and TV programs through legitimate means than those who never illegally download material, consumer watchdog Choice has claimed.

A survey found that 29 per cent of people who pirate at least monthly also pay for content through iTunes or Apple TV subscription, compared to 16 per cent of the general population and 12 per cent of people who never pirate.

The study also claimed that 56 per cent who regularly access illegal content go to the cinema at least monthly, compared to 36 per cent of those who stick to the rules.

Choice campaign manager Erin Turner said the answer to piracy was not to block websites, as suggested by politicians, but for media companies to make content available more quickly and at reasonable prices.

“This data shows that most Australians who pirate are even more willing to spend money on content than those who don’t pirate,” she said. “Yes there is a small group who will always pirate but most are motivated by issues of affordability and access. Their total consumption patterns on content show they are paying for a lot more than they pirate and are more likely to pay for content than people who don’t pirate at all.”

Game of Thrones is one of the most pirated shows in the world

Game of Thrones is one of the most pirated shows in the world

Australia is believed to be one of the biggest countries for piracy per capita in the world, with half of those who illegally download content citing affordability as their motivator, with 41 per cent saying they just did not want to wait for content to arrive in Australia before watching.

“We need to address the competition issues and give people the content they want in the way they want it. It is a warning to media companies. Give people the content they want and they’ll pay,” Turner said.

If they don’t, current piracy behaviour will continue, she added.

The research also found that 64 per cent of those who pirate would use their technology skills to access sites that are blocked, if government proposals to block file sharing sites are adopted.

“It’s not surprising as they have a degree of tech literacy so the kind of solutions to piracy that we know the government is considering are less likely to effect people who are illegally downloading content,” Turner said.

Choice director of campaigns and communications, Matt Levey, said there remains “ridiculous” delays to shows arriving in Australia, citing the example of superhero TV hit The Flash which aired in the US on October 7 but was only shown in Australia on December 3, two months later.

“The internet has made it easier than ever to access content quickly, providers need to catch up,” he said.

“There is also 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.

“As the research shows, consumers will pay for content on Quickflix, iTunes and Netflix but we want the right content at the right time.”

It is believed the emergence of more streaming platforms in Australia, including Stan and Presto, will help stem the rate of piracy.

Steve Jones


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