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10% more consumers tapping legit content online, though one in five still pirate

By | Published on Thursday 23 July 2015


The number of UK consumers accessing digital content through legal download or streaming platforms has risen 10% since 2013 according to new research published by the government’s Intellectual Property Office yesterday, though one in five consumers continues to access music, movie, TV or gaming goodies from unlicensed sources online.

The IPO survey reckons that 15.6 million UK internet users now access music online, with twelve million streaming and 10.5 million downloading, again confirming the rise of the streams in recent years. Though while Spotify is amongst the most use streaming music platforms in the UK, 54% of online music was consumed via YouTube.

And while it’s a licensed service, the music industry has, of course, got something of a fractured relationship with the Google video site, which generates less revenue for labels and publishers despite its massive userbase (though, as we discuss in the latest CMU Trends Report, that’s something rights owners might just have to get used to).

Although legit digital services, especially streams, are booming, plenty of users are still tapping illegal sources of content too. And while overall that’s 20% of users, for music it’s 26%, 1% more than for film, and 5% more than those seeking bootleg telly shows, according to the IPO data. The most common excuses given for continuing to infringe are that piracy services are free and more convenient, with a quarter of the pirates surveyed saying they’d go legit if legal services were cheaper. Though how they can be cheaper than freemium YouTube and Spotify isn’t clear.

With the new IPO report coming ahead of the previously reported Creative Content UK education campaign which will try and encourage consumers to only use licensed content services, IP Minister Lucy Neville Rolfe said: “It’s great news that a huge proportion of UK consumers are going online to enjoy music, TV shows, video games and e-books legally, supporting our creative industries to grow and showing the benefits of making legal content widely available. By building a clear picture of online streaming and downloading trends we can work with industry and international partners to tackle the problems of internet piracy and increase public awareness of the ways people can download and stream legally”.