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New research reveals consumer attitudes towards piracy

Viewing pirated content is much more prevalent amongst young people, while willingness to access pirated content generally decreases with age, according to a new global research from Irdeto, Revenue Assurance and Media Protection solutions. The research revealed that the majority of American (70%) and U.K. (72%) consumers are unlikely to watch pirated content. This is different in Asia and Australia. A much smaller proportion of respondents noted that they were unlikely or extremely unlikely to watch pirated content (40% Australia, 31% Singapore, 40% India and only 9% in Indonesia), leaving a large majority of consumers in Asia Pacific who are open to consuming entertainment through illegal means.

Conversely, 62% of 18-24 year olds in the U.K. and 54% of 18-34 year olds in the U.S. admitted to watching pirated content, a number much higher than older respondents. This highlights that young people are more willing to embrace piracy to get what they want.

The research was commissioned by Irdeto and conducted among a representative sample of over 4,700 adults to understand and address consumer behavior around media content consumption in today’s multi-screen world. It uncovered trends in piracy, viewing habits, and service delivery platforms across the U.S., U.K., Australia, Singapore, India, and Indonesia.

Some of the highlights include:

  • Part-time Pirates: while viewing of pirated content is clearly prevalent, the research suggests that in the U.S. and U.K., many consumers would prefer to access content through legal channels. More than 90% in the U.S. and the 52% in the U.K. who do watch pirated content say it is a few times a year or less, signalling that in markets where more content is available, there is less of a need to download it illegally.
  • Fear of Missing Out: The number one reason most consumers in Australia (26%) and Singapore (31%) chose to watch pirated video content was because the video content is not available legally in their location. However, price was a top driver for consumers in India (29%) and Indonesia (36%) to watch pirated video content.

“One of the most interesting findings from our survey was that availability, poor quality, and security issues are deterrents for downloading illegal content,” said Bengt Jonsson, Vice President APAC, Irdeto.  “This is a clear message to operators to provide high quality content at the right price. This could be a differentiator to remain competitive in a diverse region like Asia Pac.”

  • Sports Interest and Viewing: Despite the proliferation of devices, TV is still clearly the most popular medium for watching sports, with 53% of consumers in the U.K. mostly watching sports on TV at home and 4% mostly watching on TV in a pub or bar. However, multi-screen is growing, with 5% of consumers mostly watching sports on a laptop or desktop and 2% through a mobile device.  Americans followed the same pattern with 50% of respondents watching sports at home on TV.  Only 17% of Americans watch sports outside the home.
  • Couch Potato World Cup Fans: With the World Cup underway, the respondents were also polled regarding their attitudes towards watching the tournament.  Of the Americans polled, three quarters said they did not plan to watch the World Cup. Of those who did plan to watch, the majority (73%) planned to watch the games at home on TV. In the U.K., TV is still the most popular medium for viewing with 54% of respondents planning to watch the matches on TV. However, 7% are watching highlights on-demand, 5% are using a DVR to record matches, 5% are streaming them online and 3% are watching through a mobile device.

“The popularity of sports consumption over IPTV and mobile devices is increasing. We are seeing that many operators and broadcasters are focused on initiatives to drive consumer loyalty, particularly around the World Cup,” said Richard Scott, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Irdeto. “This research shows that more than 50% of U.S. and U.K. consumers are watching live sports in the home – either on their TVs or on a smaller screen. Broadcasting sporting events in high quality represents a significant opportunity for broadcasters to engage existing customers and acquire new ones, while also protecting their rights to provide live game coverage.”

  • TV Sweeps the Ratings: Across the board, findings show that TV remains king in the majority of the markets surveyed. However, in some more developing countries, other ways of viewing content, such as on smartphones and tablets, is gaining momentum. The majority of respondents in Australia (51%), Indonesia (43%), and India (39%) indicated that they prefer watching TV over smartphones, tablets and laptops. However, in Singapore, the preferred way to view content is on a laptop (36%), and in India, laptops are a close second choice (36%).

“The laptop and desktop have overtaken the TV as the most preferred device in some parts of Asia.  This signals the onset of the multi-screen phenomenon in Asia Pacific. Countries like Singapore tend to be early adopters of technology and the trend is also evident in Asian countries such as Indonesia and India. It is a reflection of how hungry for content the consumers are in this region, and their desire to own and consume content on multiple screens,” added Jonsson.

  • Loving Live Content: In the U.S., the most popular means of watching TV, movies, and sports is live as they are broadcast on TV, with 49% of respondents choosing live TV over pre-recorded or internet TV. Most Americans (59%) are happy to wait for new shows and content to become available before watching.

Click here for full survey results and quick read reports: U.S., U.K. and Asia Pacific.

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