Legal streaming on the up
James R | On 25, Jul 2015
More people are watching things online legally in the UK, according to a new report.
Piracy has always been issue for the media world in the digital age: new-found accessibility and a sense of entitlement has led to some people streaming and torrenting films and TV shows illegally, failing to support the creative industries and talents that produce them.
In recent years, though, accessibility to legal content has also vastly improved, thanks to the rising popularity of subscription VOD services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, as well as the launch of OTT services, such as NOW, to enable affordable (and contract-free) access to premium content, such as Game of Thrones and shows on other pay-TV channels.
That has boosted legal consumption of TV, film and music in the UK, according to new research by the Intellectual Property Office. Indeed, the most common reasons given for infringing copyright were because it’s free (49 per cent) and convenient (43 per cent). Respondents said they would be encouraged to stop infringing if there were cheaper legal services (25 per cent) and if everything was available legally (21 per cent).
The problem is far from solved: 1 in 5 people still access content illegally, while there has been an equal increase of 6 per cent in online media consumption, whether legal or illegal, but since 2013, there has been an increase of more than 10 per cent in take up of legal services. (The launch of VODzilla.co in 2013, which provides comprehensive information on what is available to watch online legally in the UK, has had an unconfirmed impact.)
For film, Netflix, Amazon and YouTube were the top platforms for downloads, with Netflix having a significant impact upon legal streaming: the SVOD giant is now responsible for 44 per cent of all activity.
For TV, BBC iPlayer, You Tube and ITV Player were the top platforms for accessing programmes online, with BBC iPlayer responsible for 62 per cent of activity.
Overall, 10 million UK users have access films online, while 15 million have accessed a TV programme online. 25 per cent accessed some films illegally, while 21 per cent accessed some TV shows illegally.
YouTube, Amazon and Spotify were the top platforms used for downloading and streaming music, with 54 per cent of all music streaming and downloads were accessed via YouTube.
Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Neville Rolfe comments: “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.”
Alongside measures to raise awareness of legal services and tackle copyright infringement, the UK government is working with the European Commission and industry to find ways to help make more content available to purchase across borders within Europe.
The survey was published in parallel with research in Australia and shows that while British and Australian users consumed online media at similar rates, illegal downloading for UK consumers was half the rate of their Australian counterparts.
In short, well done, Britons. You did good.