Illegal viewers are not aware of the impact their activity has on the wider entertainment industry, according to new research by PriceSpy.co.uk.
The price comparison site found that one in four (24%) have illegally downloaded or streamed a programme online and 35% of them feel that it is not a big issue for the television and film industry.
The majority (42%) choose to access and watch illegally-sourced content because it is free, compared to the traditional TV Licence which, at £12.50 per month, over half (52%) of holders polled feel is poor value for money.
Other reasons given for illegal viewing were because it is available more immediately (27%) or is unavailable to view in their own country or region (18%).
Exports such as Game of Thrones, Orange Is The New Black and Breaking Bad are the most popular shows viewed online, by both legal and illegal means – not surprising as half (47%) of viewers believe that American programming is superior to British shows.
And one in three (35%) are so fond of viewing shows on demand that they would rather give up their television than their online streaming methods.
Lorna Barker, Senior Marketing Manager for PriceSpy UK and Ireland, comments: “Online programming is growing rapidly in popularity, through the natural convenience of being able to watch what you want, when and where you want. However, the impact of illegal downloads on the industry have been a topic of discussion for some time.
“We wanted to find out what those who actually use illegal downloads think about them, why they use them and if they are aware of the impact. We were surprised at the number of users who were not aware of the potential issues caused by illegal viewing, and by the number of people who would happily lose their television and rely instead on online content.”
Cecila Kang, writing in The Washington Post, adds: “Analysts say hundreds of millions of dollars are being stolen with these unauthorised downloads of video, music and book files through pirate sites such as the Pirate Bay. And Netflix’s tactic of releasing entire seasons of hit shows at once may have only encouraged people to put more illegal content on the Internet more quickly.”