UK lawfirm Wiggin has delivered its 2012 Digital Entertainment Survey. The study, which polled 2,500 UK respondents representative of the
national demographic, is packed with lots of interesting statistics.
The study’s coverage is broad, but for the purposes of this summary we’ll take a look at the elements relating to unauthorized consumption of digital products.
The first section of the survey covers people’s entertainment activities such as watching TV, listening to music or reading ebooks. Despite the piracy crisis complained about by the entertainment industries, out of a Top 40 most popular activities list, it takes until position 34 for an unauthorized activity to appear.
Just 6% of respondents said they download movies or TV shows from linking and hosting sites. Even less – 5% – said they obtain video from regular file-sharing sites. When it comes to people acquiring unauthorized music online, the figure is a modest 5% of respondents. Just 4% said they obtain eBooks unlawfully.
Zooming in on the various age categories shows that file-sharing is mostly a habit of younger men. Of all men between 15 and 19 years old, 14% admitted downloading movies and TV-shows through file-sharing sites, compared to 2% of women. This percentage drops to 1% for both men and women aged 45 and up.
When it comes to those already consuming media from unauthorized sources, the survey indicates that they aren’t in any hurry to stop soon.
Of those confessing to an existing file-sharing habit, 29% said they would download more eBooks and 28% said they would download more games and software in the next 12 months. When it comes to downloading music from file-sharing sites and cyberlockers, the uptick is 28% and 26% respectively.
But overall respondents say they will use more legal alternatives too. Of those already streaming ad-supported music, 27% said they would do more during the next year. Of music fans already paying for a monthly streaming subscription, 36% said they would consume more music in that way.
Of current unauthorized movie and TV show downloaders, 26% said they would consume more from file-sharing sites during the next year, dropping to 24% for those who prefer cyberlockers. Of those already paying for their movies either from PPV or on-demand services, 34% said they would consume more over the next 12 months.
Interestingly, when it comes to a change of habits during the next year, between 15% and 19% of current downloaders said they would do less, a figure closely matched (18%) by those slowly abandoning DVDs. The good news for the movie industry is that 30% of current movie goers expect to go even more in the year to come.
For those who prefer to do their file-swapping offline with friends using USB sticks and hard drives, 26% said they would be doing more of that during the next 12 months, something that no ISP blockade can do anything about.
The Wiggin law firm counts many big entertainment companies as clients so expect some of the results of this survey to be quoted by the industry at a later date. One that stands out concerns the attributes of an online service that indicates to the user “that a site is legitimate and the content [offered by it] is legal.”
29% of respondents said that a site ranking high in Google’s results would make it stand out as legitimate. Of course, the entertainment industries are trying to pressure Google into downgrading sites like The Pirate Bay so this will add fuel to their fire.
On the thorny issue of regulating Internet content, 40% either “strongly” or “slightly” disagreed with the notion that the Internet should be regulated in the same way as TV while a total of 58% thought that it should.
When it comes to controlling the Internet in order to police unlawful downloading, a total of 53% said they thought greater regulation is required. Just 18% disagreed, a gift to the lobbyists.
The full report can be downloaded here (pdf).