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Pirate video viewing least in US/Europe, perps least willing to stop

Worldwide pirated video viewers 2017

New research from Irdeto shows that the US and Europe watch pirated video less than other regions in the world. Unfortunately, those that do are stubbornly clinging to the behavior.

The Irdeto Global Consumer Piracy Survey was run by YouGov between December 29 2016 and February 16 2017. The survey, which was answered by 25,738 adults in 30 countries, gives a surprising picture of just how common content piracy is.

US and Europe pirate content less

Of the four regions studied, the US and Europe have the fewest number of people watching pirated content. 32% in the US and 45% in Europe say they have watched illegal video. Latin American (LatAm) consumers are the worst offenders with 70% watching pirated videos, and 61% of Asia Pacific (APAC) nations saying the same.

Hot spots for the number of consumers engaging in illegal viewing include Colombia (77%,) Mexico (75%,) and Argentina (67%). The country with the largest proportion of law-abiding video viewers is Germany. 72% of consumers there say they have never watched pirated video content. Denmark (68%) and the UK (65%) are not far behind. 63% of US consumers say they have never watched pirated video.

Luckily, most of those that have watched pirated content don’t do it very often. 11% of APAC and Latin American consumer say they watch more than once a week. 7% of Europeans and 4% of people in the US say the same.

Countries with the highest penetration of people that watch more than once a week include Egypt (16%,) Indonesia (16%,) and the Ukraine (15%).

Ignorance is not an excuse

percentage that think watching pirated video is legalIgnorance of the illegality of the watching pirated content doesn’t appear to be a very strong excuse. Most consumers surveyed are aware that both watching and distributing pirated content is illegal. 3 in 5 or more people in all regions said they think streaming or downloading pirated video is illegal. Around 3 in every 4 consumers say they know producing or sharing pirated content is illegal.

There is, however, one country where ignorance could be a legitimate defense: Russia. Irdeto says 87% of Russians think that producing and sharing pirated video isn’t illegal. And 66% say they believe streaming or downloading pirated video isn’t illegal.

US and European pirate viewers least willing to reform

Overall, 48% of people watching pirated video indicate they can be persuaded to stop by informing them of the damage it does. However, the proportion is much higher in APAC and LatAm, where 55% and 59% respectively say this. In Europe, 44% say they can be persuaded, and 39% in the US. Conversely, 2 in 5 illegal video viewers in the US and Europe say knowing the damage this activity does would have no effect on the amounted of pirated video they watch.

Education the best weapon?

Irdeto says that education on the damage piracy does to the media industry is the best defense against piracy. Certainly, in Latin America and APAC, the survey data lends justification to this position. However, in Europe and the US, it may well not be enough. Irdeto suggests broadening the education to include potential direct harm to consumers from malware, piracy’s links to organized crime, and less funding for future content creation.

Why it matters

An alarming number of people worldwide admit to watching pirated content.

Most of them are aware that what they are doing is illegal.

Many can be persuaded to curtail their activity by the argument that it harms the entertainment industry.

US and European consumers will be much more difficult to dissuade from their illegal video viewing ways.


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