Friday, 04 September 2015 07:36

Piracy drops as consumers adopt SVOD services Featured


Australian consumers have delivered a kick in the groin to Hollywood copyright trolls, as the latest data appears to show that the real way to fight piracy is to provide the public with affordable legal content through SVOD services.

New research from consumer advocacy group CHOICE has found that Australians are abandoning piracy and embracing new legal streaming services such as Netflix to access timely and affordable content.

The research comes as talks around the industry’s poorly conceived internet filter have stalled as big movie houses, Foxtel and ISPs struggle to agree on who will foot the bill for punishing consumers.

“The fact is the number of people regularly pirating in Australia has dropped by a quarter since Netflix launched,” says CHOICE Campaigns Manager, Erin Turner.

“This proves once again that making content affordable and easily available is the first and most effective tactic to reduce piracy - not a draconian internet filter and notice scheme.

“As a nation we are keen to pay for legal content. Our research found the number of people using legal subscription and pay-per-view services has jumped from 46% to 59% in the last six months.

“The increase is directly related to the launch of Netflix in Australia and the emergence of a local streaming industry, with players such as Stan and Presto competing for customers and offering consumers real alternatives to piracy,” Ms Turner says.

The research shows the number of people who pirate film or TV at least monthly has decreased by a quarter since the CHOICE survey was last conducted in November 2014, moving from 23% in 2014 to 17%. Overall rates of piracy have also reduced, from 33% to 30%.

“It’s clear the drop in piracy is a result of increased availability of legal streaming services in Australia,” says Ms Turner.

“It’s time for the content industry to stop ignoring the facts and end the massive waste of time and money pursuing their obsession with a useless internet filter and an education notice scheme.

“These policies won’t work, because they do not address the reasons people pirate; they just prop up outdated business models. Unlawful downloading comes down to availability, timeliness and affordability.”

CHOICE conducted its initial survey ‘CHOICE Digital Consumers – paying for content behaviour and attitudes’ in November 2014, prior to launch of new legal streaming services in Australia, and prior to the passage of the Copyright Amendment (Online Infringement) Bill 2015 (the Copyright Bill).   

The updated survey was conducted with 1010 participants from the general population from 2 July to 15 July 2015 by iView for CHOICE. This survey was conducted following the launch of Stan and Netflix in Australia in March 2015, and following the introduction of the Copyright Bill (but prior to any legal action being taken under the new powers). Final data was weighted to ensure it is representative of the Australian population as per ABS Census 2011.The content and internet industries were due to agree to an anti-piracy industry code by 1 September 2015, but have yet to reach an agreement.[1]

The reasons behind piracy remain consistent:

  •    Expensive prices (38%), timeliness (32%) and availability (23%) are the main reasons for piracy, consistent with findings from 2014.
  •     32% of Australian pirates are downloading TV shows that they know they can’t buy in Australia, and 30% are pirating movies that can’t be bought in Australia.
  •     Findings align with recent Federal Government research which found that the best options for limiting piracy are to reduce the price of legal content (39%), improve availability (38%) and eliminate release delays (36%
Survey question 2014 results 2015 results
Never download or stream pirated movies or TV shows 67% 70%
Have pirated content 33% 30%
Regularly (at least monthly) pirate content 23% 17%
Use pay per view or subscription services 46% 59%
Subscribe to Australian services 36% 55%
Subscribe to geoblocked services 8% 10%

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Stan Beer


Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 35 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications. He currently has a website that focusses on 5G wireless technology and the associated market WIREFREEZ.

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