As the spiritual home of The Pirate Bay and the birthplace of some of the world’s most hardcore file-sharers, Sweden has definitely earned its place in the history books. If Swedes can be converted to legal offerings, just about anyone can, one might argue.
A new study just published by the Film and TV Industry Cooperation Committee (FTVS) in collaboration with research company Novus reveals some interesting trends on local media consumption habits.
Covering both legal and illegal services, the survey is based on 1,003 interviews carried out between Feb 27 and March 9 2015 among citizens aged 16 to 79-years-old.
Legal and illegal consumption
On the legal TV and movie consumption front, Sweden appears to be doing well. A decent 71% of respondents said they buy services such as Netflix and HBO, with a quarter using such services every day and 35% watching several times each week.
In comparison, 29% of all respondents admitted to using illegal services to watch film and television. Perhaps unsurprisingly the activity is most prevalent among the young, with 60% of 16 to 29-year-olds confessing to using pirate sites.
The survey found that around 280 million movies and TV shows are watched illegally in Sweden each year, with respondents indicating they would have paid for around a third of those if illegal services weren’t available.
With torrents extremely popular around Europe, it’s interesting to note that downloading of content is now taking second place to online streaming. The survey found that 19% of respondents stream content illegally, while 17% download. When users engage in both streaming and downloading, streaming is the more popular activity.
The study notes that dual users (those that use both legal and illegal services) watch every third movie or TV show illegally, an average of four films and seven TV shows every month.
The survey also polled respondents on their attitudes to piracy. Six out of ten respondents said they think that using ‘pirate’ sites to watch movies and TV shows is “wrong”. Four out of ten agreed, but previously used these services anyway.
On the thorny question of what to do about piracy, respondents were asked what they thought would be the best solution.
Somewhat conveniently for an anti-piracy focused report, 43% of respondents indicated that ISPs should play a part in reducing the numbers of user visiting illegal services, with 24% opting for site blocking measures and 19% suggesting a warning notice scheme.
However, when it comes to the heavy hand of the law, a minority of respondents show an interest. Just 10% believe that boosting law enforcement and judicial resources will solve the problem while a tiny 4% think that harsher punishments will bring results.
Commenting on the report, Per Strömbäck of FTVS says that the situation in Sweden is far from satisfactory.
“There is a common misconception that piracy is less of a problem today because we have a wide range of legal options. On the contrary, the problem of illegal services is greater than ever,” Strömbäck says.
“The situation is not sustainable. For us to be able to continue to produce, distribute and show films and TV audiences want to see and pay for, we need a functioning digital market and measures to stop the illegal competition.”
With site blocking firmly on the agenda in Sweden, entertainment industry groups will be pinning their hopes on success in the courts since there is clearly no appetite for punishing the public.