One in Four Consumers Have Pirated Content in the Last 6 Months





A new study by Hub Entertainment Research reveals that 38% of people have pirated video before, and 24% have pirated within the last 6 months. That’s one out of every four consumers falling under the “active pirate” category. The new study, called “Privacy + Piracy,” was conducted among 2,500 US consumers in August and September 2020 and looks at reasons people pirate content. As you might expect, some of the biggest motivators are convenience and the fact that it’s free.

The study showed that among those classed as “active pirates,” two-thirds say they’ve thought about the financial impact their pirating has on TV and film distribution companies, but that it hasn’t changed their behavior. Simply knowing an illegal download may negatively impact the owner or creator isn’t a strong enough deterrent from pirating.

Even warning letters don’t seem to be enough of a threat. More than 50% of active pirates in this study have at some time been issued a warning letter via mail or email, but less than half of the recipients said it was enough to make them stop or even slow down their pirating habits.

“Video piracy is concentrated among a minority of the population, and driven by certain demographic groups such as those under 35, those in lower-income homes, or those in homes with kids,” said David Tice, senior consultant to Hub and co-author of the study. “Much as we saw in the early 2000s with Napster and illegal music downloads, legal threats are less effective as a deterrent than offering pirates a legal alternative – but an alternative must address the reasons for their piracy in the first place.”

There seems to be no solution to the pirating problem right now. However, consumers would be open to legal alternatives if they were available. A shocking 94% of active pirates say they would use a legal means of viewing if it was readily available and not too expensive. Out of the 94%, 42% of consumers said they would turn to legal options even if it cost more, and 52% would if it cost no more than pirating.

Pirating includes more than streaming from illegal websites, it also includes something as innocent-seeming as password sharing. Almost one in three people share a password with someone outside their home for a streaming service.

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