Cheap, legal options wouldn’t stop Australians pirating



news An extensive survey conducted by respected analysis house Essential Research has found that a huge proportion of Australians would continue to pirate content such as TV shows and movies online, even if such content was made available everywhere globally at the same time for a low price.

According to ongoing global research, Australians pirate more content online than almost any other nation. For example, when the series finale of popular AMC show Breaking Bad was released in the US through cable networks in early October, the episode quickly made an appearance on popular file-sharing sites, predominantly using the BitTorrent protocol. According to file-sharing news site TorrentFreak, the show was downloaded more than 500,000 times just 12 hours after the first copy appeared online.

“Based on a sample of more than 10,000 people who shared the site via a BitTorrent client, we see that Australia is once again in the lead with 18 percent of the total,” the site wrote. “This means that a large group of Aussies prefer to torrent the episode instead of watching it on the pay TV network Foxtel.”

Those analysing Internet piracy in Australia have constantly pointed to the fact that shows such as Breaking Bad are pirated locally by many Australians because of the fact that the shows are not readily available on our own free to air television stations or through Internet television platforms. To access much of this style of content, US consumers are able to subscribe to IPTV platforms such as Netflix or Hulu, which do not operate in Australia.

In Australia, however, the timely availability of such shows has regularly been limited to Foxtel’s pay TV platform, which requires a subscription, or Apple’s iTunes platform, which many users prefer not to use because of its technical limitations.

However, according to a new survey by Essential Research published last week (PDF), it wouldn’t matter if content such as Breaking Bad episodes was available in a timely and affordable manner in Australia anyway — because a huge chunk of Australians would pirate it anyway.

Essential Research’s survey was conducted online from the 24th to the 28th October and polled some 1,075 respondents on a range of issues such as the attributes of Australian political leaders, the NSW bushfires, climate change, politicians’ expenses and downloading content from the Internet.

It found that 27 percent of respondents admitted to downloading films, music or television shows via the Internet for free. 64 percent said they did not download such material, while 9 percent said they did not know. There was an equal split between the genders when it came to downloading material, while those between 18 to 34 years of age were most likely to download such material. Those on higher incomes or with university educations were more likely to download content online.

That 27 percent total was actually down a little on a similar question asked in May 2012, when 32 percent of respondents said they downloaded such content online.

The survey respondents claimed that the main reason they downloaded material online was because they wished to access TV shows or movies not yet available in Australia (32 percent), while others downloaded such content because it was free (20 percent) or because accessing content that way was “convenient” (24 percent). A small number of respondents said they downloaded content because films and movies were too expensive.

Very few respondents — just two percent — said that they mainly downloaded content online because video formats used by providers such as Apple iTunes were too restrictive.

Lastly, respondents were asked: “If television shows, music and movies were all made available at the same time around the world and for a low price, would you purchase and dowlnoad them, pay for a subscription that enabled you to download them or continue to download them for free?”

42 percent of respondents said they would continue to download free versions regardless, while 23 percent said they would purchase and download the content. A further 18 percent said they would pay for a subscription, while 17 percent didn’t know.

The results mirror similar trends seen overseas. TorrentFreak reported with respect to the Breaking Bad example: “In the U.S. and the U.K the legal availability on Netflix couldn’t prevent people from pirating the final Breaking Bad episode either. With 14.5 and 9.3 percent these countries are second and third respectively. India and Canada complete the top five with 5.7 and 5.1 percent of the total.”

The piracy situation has generated substantial debate in Australia. In April, for example, US Ambassador to Australia Jeffrey Bleich published an impassioned statement appealing to Australians to stop breaching the copyright of US cable giant HBO by illegally downloading its popular Game of Thrones television show in record numbers.

And last week the new Coalition Federal Government reportedly signalled plans to restart long-running talks between the telecommunications and content industries to deal with the issue of Internet piracy, despite the fact that a previous round of talks between the two sides under the previous Labor administration proved pointless.

Very interesting data. So very few Australians (2 percent) care about the technical limitations of iTunes, and the most popular reason for pirating is it allows Australians access to content not otherwise available in Australia. Not that many people (20 percent) are overly worried about the cost. And yet we continue to pirate and state that we would do so regardless of whether cheap and legal options were available to get this content in a timely manner. Very strange. As a society, are we really this confused in our motivations?


  1. I think that another word needs to be thrown into the mix – convenient.

    If Australia had a netflix style service (and the broadband infrastructure to support streaming instant, on-demand, HD content) for a reasonable price, with content available the same day it was shown on US/EU, then I’m sure that many (more) would jump on board.

    But who are we kidding – it’s never going to happen – so piracy remains the fastest and most convenient option for most.

    • Convience was mentioned ” because accessing content that way was “convenient” (24 percent).”

      If asked a question relating to itunes restrictions would most people say its more convient if they werent there, I think the 2% response is probably due to the leading question asked.

      A file you can put on any device , watch when / where and how you want is always going to be more useful than something thats either tied to the lounge room or a broadcast time or specific platform.

      GongGav covers my point below

    • Not sure I would be able to even use a netflix service here considering my world class 2mbps (on a good day) ADSL2+ internet connection, though I am sure Malcolm will solve that problem by at least 2215.. lol…

      The problem to me is the limitation of these services, if you have a few different media playing solutions/devices a downloaded mkv is playable on everything.. Whereas if you pay for the episode you are limited to where and how you are ALLOWED to play it, none of the services are convenient as they hinder the people who pay for them far more than the pirates who just download the MKV..

      I rip all the blurays I buy to MKV as I just find the media limiting, I understand they often include an ultraviolet version but that is often as (or more) inconvenient / limited as the physical media version..

      • I wanted to do the right thing and use a reputable on line service to watch some entertainment so I took a chance on Bigpond movies. Now a year or so ago I used this service and you could download the whole movie so as no to have buffering issues. In the mighty telco’s infinite wisdom they changed this to a streaming only service which you really need better than the measly 1.5-2Mbps that Telstra can provide me on my landline. One thing consumers do not like is being cut out of the market and told that their money doesn’t matter, which essentially has happened to me. The light at the end of the tunnel was the NBN, which is now all but canned. Is it any wonder that people pirate entertainment when people in third world countries can get cheaper access to such content than Australia?

        I would gladly pay for a subscription (or pay per view) if allowed and had access to decent internet.

    • I think convenience is a horse that has bolted. Australians have been left out in the cold when it comes to services like Netflix, Hulu, etc. that we’ve just become accustomed to pirating content. Netflix could have easily opened it’s doors to Australians years ago, but they didn’t.

      I’m also not going to blame companies like Netflix for this. Movie and TV studios seem to enjoy having regional pricing for a digital future; there is 0% cost difference in delivering a movie or TV show to a house in Australia or a house in the USA; it’s merely gouging the market they’ve been raping for years.

      This is the reason we will continue to pirate; movie and TV studios will continue to operate on their old model of regional pricing; preventing companies like Netflix from being able to distribute digitally here. As long as that model continues, Australians will continue to pirate content in record amounts.

  2. Unfortunately, I think the pirate ship has well and truly sailed. The assumption of availability is now there, and thats going to be very difficult to undo.

    Let me be clear here. I buy content. A lot of content. My DVD/blu ray collection is insured for $25,000 (probably should bump that up actually) so dont take this as someone ignoring the industry, or wanting a free ride, or justifying piracy. I have well over 1000 discs proving otherwise.

    But the convenience of torrents means I have no problems downloading a show I want to watch, even with fast tracking. Its all about convenience, nothing more. I want the convenience of watching a show when I want, not when I’m told to watch it, and that option is readily available.

    When the industry goes out of its way to make it harder to get the content (am thinking Foxtels blocking of GoT via iTunes), what do they think people are going to do? Pamper to their draconian actions? Sorry, it just feeds torrenting, and cements the instant gratification attitude thats been created.

    That doesnt mean some arent downloading because they want a free ride, its ridiculous to think that doesnt happen, but its been shown repeatedly that those who download generally contribute the most to the industry that they are actually in the minority. They are also nothing new, its been happening for centuries.

    So personally, I think that the actions of the industry have cemented a mentality thats going to be very difficult to undo. And the fact we can see free options being offered overseas, and cant understand why those same options arent available here, means that any argument against piracy is going to be dismissed because of two businesses – Hulu amd Netflix.

  3. Sorry, 23% + 17% doesn’t = 20% Renai.

    Look, I admit. I am crap at maths, but of the respondents, actually ~40% said they would consider a paid model of some description. A further ~17% are on the fence.

    Unless we’re talking about made up percentages that don’t tally to ~100%? Because that’d make them a pretty pointless metric, right?

    Part of the problem is the long-running nature of the models that have resulted in content being locked up for years. Despite technology changes, and despite rights owners/ distributors having global reach on a pretty amazing scale. It’s 2013 and yet 1970’s distribution models are still very much in use.

    The market is simply responding to this and seeking a workable alternative solution.

    A percentage of which will always do this, granted. But the convenience factor now is such that using non-official channels is simply easier.

    It’s not that it’s necessarily cheaper, though I am quite sure that has a strong influence – people are (sad to say) inherently lazy. If I can use a free service, that works and is easier than a paid service, which one am I more likely to consider?

    When the alternative distribution models are easier than your paid model – it’s time you either changed that paid model to compete, or maybe go stack supermarket shelves, somewhere.

    The tyranny of distance once prevented content being made available even remotely in a timely manner. Now? There’s no real reason content cannot screen within hours. Some of it does. But the majority of distribution choices being made now are still based on very old exclusive and tiered models.

    • If you read what I wrote below, you can see how things match up. Renai hasn’t really looked at the numbers properly either.

      Of the 27% of Australians who pirate,

      Only one in five because it’s free (20%), 80% for other reasons. Key other reasons include timeliness (32%), convenience (24%), expense (11%).
      If it were available both timely and inexpensive, there are a number of people who would purchase and download (23%) and who would pay a subscription (18%). However, there are also a number of people who would continue to pirate (42%).

      If we add the reasons for download being free (20%), and convenience (24%), we get [44%]. Compare that figure with those who would continue to pirate ([42%]).
      If we add the reasons for download being timeliness (32%) and expense (11%), we get [43%]. If we add those who would purchase and download (23%) and who would pay a subscription (18%), we get [41%]. Compare those two figures.

      The best way to interpret the results is that 5.4% of Australians (20% of 27%) are along for a free ride, while 21.6% are under-served (80% of 27%). Cheap and timely options only help with about 11.07% (41% of 27%).

      • In addition I’m concerned about the validity of the survey itself. They’ve used a sample size of 1000 people but the medium was opt in and online, it also bundled in a variety of totally unrelated questions.

        When Nielsen does its TV polling it requires 5000 households (so average of 2-3 people per hours, you’re looking at a sample size of 15000 or more) which are weighted across different demographics (age, gender, income, cultural background, geographical area). This is considered to be acceptable in terms of making predictions for Australia’s TV media, yet we then have some tiny online poll and someone interpreting it stating that this depicts Australia?
        Statistics calls bull.

        Effectively from what has been presented above theres approximately some 200 people who responded and said they’d pirated and who would continue to do so. As a percentage of the Australian population who use the Internet (which I dont have the stats on but i’d say once we account for the young, old and geography we’re probably around at least 14million); 200 respondants in the affirmative is not statistically significant – even without the statistical validity tests being applied.

        It’d be great if the media would actually talk to someone with statistical knowledge before writing this kind of stuff, it really just perpetrates inaccuracies in the debate.

        • You also didn’t mention the limitation inherent in the design of the questionnaire – the number of factors respondents were allowed to choose from was extremely limiting and demonstrated significant bias in the possible results that could actually be obtained.

          Where were options allowing respondents to truly represent their motivations and justifications surrounding this behaviour? As numerous people have already commented, inviting Netflix to Australia isn’t a complete solution because there are numerous issues specific to Australia, such as poor Internet performance that excludes many people from workable streaming services, metered download quotas that make movie downloads actually more expensive than purchasing them as a percentage of monthly download allowance on many existing broadband plans, and even if you had ‘fast enough’ Internet with acceptable quota it might only be fast enough for a similarly indistinct, grainy image as found on most free-to-air broadcasts, nothing like the 1080p the show is actually recorded and broadcast in.

          So while there are a significant number of variables with a complex interrelationship that contributes to this issue, poorly designed study and questionnaire framing combined with uncritical regurgitation by sensationalist media is precisely the opposite of what’s needed here – detailed and thorough investigation and analysis of these phenomena may actually contribute meaningfully to the debate, but what we have here is muddying the water at best, but probably bordering on misdirection if we’re being honest.

  4. Talking about Netflix being available legally in the US and the UK then referencing the final episode of breaking bad is kind of irrelevant no?

    The final season, let alone the final episode, are not available on Netflix, so even if they have legal access to the Netflix service, they will still likely pirate the latest episodes of things that aren’t as of yet available to them.

    • Netflix UK has the final season of Breaking Bad. Netflix US doesn’t. Which really just demonstrates how insane the distribution rights mess is.

  5. I don’t think we are confused, I think that our options for so long have been limited to Foxtel, word got around that you could get the TV and movies quicker through torrents. I know a lot of baby boomers and even the generation before them that use torrents.

    Sure you can get your shows off itunes now, however when you can watch them at even a lower cost via services in the US such as netflix and hulu, people will continue to pirate.

    But geoblocking holds Australia out of such services. Torrenting has become so simple and widely used, it’s a hard thing to convice people to move away from.

    Telstra/Foxtel and making small moves towards things similar to webtv, but the quality and timely releases for torrents is again a factor.

    I’m not saying we shouldn’t move away from torrenting, thats obvious, I’m saying what can these people move to. Quickflix as far as I’m aware is over priced and underdelivers, Foxtel is simply over priced,
    and giving money to America for Hulu and Netflix which seem to be highly regarded is simply to hard for the average home user, not to mention webtv is shockingly slow for most users to stream over copper.

    Just an opinion, see it as you will.

  6. Just Google Steam sales stopping piracy.
    Some good evidence in many countries about the % of game piracy dropping because of Steam.

    • Great point Soth.

      Thats the flipside – there has been a successful run to stop piracy in Steam, so theres evidence that people will respond to a convenient solution.

      But we dont get the carrot with movies and shows, we get the stick. Which makes people disinterested in playing ball.

      Keep putting loopholes in the way, people dont change, and the problem continues. Build a product people want to access, and leverage off that.

      Want a different example, look at how much Spotify (and similar) cut music piracy. Almost overnight, people went from pirating albums to happily endorsing the Spotify model, and simply streaming through that.

      The industry wants the benefits of the internet, without any of the negatives that go hand in hand. Yet when people realise there is money to be made by leveraging those negatives, suddenly the game changes forever.

      Apple leveraged off Napster for example, when they set up iTunes. They saw the publics desire for easily accessibly mp3’s, and basically stole the market from under the noses of the record labels. You’re now seeing the same thing happen with movies and TV, and starting to see the same with eBooks.

    • Yep, Steam is far far more convient than pirating. I have nearly 400 legally purchased games and it’s so easy that heading to thepiratebay doesn’t even enter my mind.

      Downloading media is currently seemingly easy to do, I know many non tech people that do it. Yet it isn’t without it’s flaws and frustrations, weird subtitles, audio sync issues, quality issues (if you don’t know what you’re looking for, all these situations crop up frequently according to my anecdotal evidence). With all that it’s still easier than the alternatives provided by the industry.

      Make something easy and convinient to do and people generally will. The industry needs to stop worrying about people that will likely never be their customer and better serve those that are/could be their customers.

      But hey these guys have shown time and time again that logical thinking isn’t something they’re capable of.

  7. These stats are all well and good but consumers don’t know what they want until its available too them. The key story that copyright owners need to learn from is the Steam gaming platform. Steam consistently makes games available quickly, conveniently and quite often ridiculously cheaply. Sure game piracy is still a problem but Steam shows that if you build a better platform consumers will adjust.

    These stats are meaningless until the equivalent of steam is available for movies and tv shows. I think Music is increasingly going in this direction with the growth of platforms like R.dio and Spotify making purchasing music redundant. Content owners need to get onboard and realize that they can either cash in or go extinct.

    • Oh definitley agree, nobody knows until something like Steam is available for movies on demand.

      • Yup. You just have to look at how unpopular steam was when it was first released.

        Now people can’t get enough of it.

        I buy games that I don’t even play, just because it is so convenient – and I might one day have the spare time to play.
        How would the TV producers like to be selling their product so successfully that it is sold to people who don’t even watch it?

        Nah, they would rather bitch and moan and throw rabid lawyers at children.

  8. I disagree, Renai. Just because 98% of respondents pit other reasons as a higher priority (such as whether you can legally get it at all) doesn’t mean they don’t care about the technical restrictions of iTunes.

    Even so: only 27% of the market download, and more than half of those would pay if given the chance at a reasonable price (and a truly competitive market would give them that chance, with options like Hulu & Netflix – the market capture by Foxtel has hardly led to a fair and competitive market!)

    If I was looking at a study that told me I could tap 85% of a market by offering the same product at the same price that I’m already selling elsewhere, I’d be pretty happy. It’s only the historical ripoff of Australian consumers that leads to the content owners being unhappy with such a prospect in this country.

  9. So only 20% of people download pirated material because it is free, while 80% of people are under-served.

    • Going to the other survey’s result:
      41% would pay if it was cheap (recall 11% said it was too expensive) and timely (recall 32% said it wasn’t yet accessible in Australia). On the other hand, 42% would continue to download for free (recall 20% download because it’s free, recall 24% download because it’s convenient).

      In the case of the 20% from the first survey, piracy is not a lost sale, because they wouldn’t have paid for it anyway.

      In the case of the 80% from the first survey, a poor market is the reason for piracy. When the market is improved with purchase-and-download and subscription models, those who want convenience remain under-served.

  10. Hulu executives have apparently confirmed they aren’t looking to expand to more countries for the time being:

    Instead they still are focused on their Japanese offering-Hulu Japan and their home market the US for growth opportunities.

    Hulu did apply for another Australian trademark this year.

  11. For me, convenience comes first, price second. I’m one of the small minority of Australians who is paying for both Netflix and Hulu. The system works well. Sure, I have to break the rules to get it but I don’t mind paying a realistic amount. How much does Foxtel want for delayed shows? Ouch. For TV shows that aren’t catered by these two streaming services, I’m back to good ol’ piracy.

    Unfortunately piracy is getting too easy these days. No longer do you need to ‘hunt’ for TV shows and movies. Just add your favourites to a list and it’ll automatically download for you. Its only a matter of time when these automated piracy services become mainstream in Australia. If legal HD 0-day streaming services don’t appear in Australia soon, it may be too late for the industry.

    • grum writes…

      “I’m one of the small minority of Australians who is paying for both Netflix and Hulu. The system works well. Sure, I have to break the rules to get it but I don’t mind paying a realistic amount.”

      Our household subscribes to Netflix, Hulu Plus and Amazon Prime which is more than enough content. It is far more convenient than the patch over one eye version.

      I wonder just how many people bother with setting all this up here in Oz?

      We also have a place shifter for streaming OS content to Au.

      Local FTA Au TV channels don’t get a look-in in our household…

  12. I don’t think you can read too much into it. People are creatures of habit. If they are in the habit of pirating, then they’ll continue to do so… until their habits change. If content is available widely and cheaply, then people’s habits will likely change bit by bit, regardless of what they answered in a survey.

  13. This is a classic example of a survey where what people say and what they will do are at odds.

    Video is now at exactly the same point that music was 10 years ago. Ubiquitous, easily obtainable content over the Internet led to similarly high piracy rates. However, once Apple got the majors onboard for iTunes, profits returned .. but interestingly, piracy remained high.

    Essentially, there is a class of people who will never pay for content. The only difference is that now they can choose to access it without paying for it, whereas previously they simply went without. Either way, the cost in lost sales is $0.

    For everyone else, once solutions are reasonably priced and convenient, they will quickly become paying customers again. Just a matter of meeting what the market demands…

    • A “market” transaction implies voluntary exchange of value between consensual parties based on mutually-agreeable terms. Stealing or piracy is a unilateral extraction of value solely for the benefit of the trespassing party without recompense to the aggrieved. The whole point of a “market” is that one can freely choose not to transact. Stealing subverts individual economic freedom.

      • His point was; all these unturnable pirates (the 20% or so that would never ever pay no matter what) in the past wouldn’t have paid.

        Like ever. They would have still listened to the content on the radio; watched it on TV.

        Recorded it with their VHS, recorded it with the tape deck or whatever.

        Now; instead of not paying; and only consuming a little, they pirate.

        I know your point is that someone shouldn’t have to transact in the market – but thats fine, they didn’t. The content producers did not pay for any amount of distribution to these third party pirates.

        To imply that the pirates were in the market somehow forcing a content producer to give them content is a straw man.

        On the other hand; the way I get Netflix (paying for it) actually is me forcing a content producer to deal with me in a market when they legitimately don’t want to. They have a Term of Service that implies that I shouldn’t be allowed to deal with them – yet I have found a loop hole. So as it stands; me – an actual payer for content – is more of a pirate (by your definition) than someone who downloads from a torrent service.

      • “Stealing” – You Keep Using That Word, I Do Not Think It Means What You Think It Means.

        You aren’t depriving anyone from anything that exists, you are duplicating it. Am I stealing from Stanley if I make a copy of one of their screw drivers in my workshop?

      • A market will always find a way to gain access to a resource. Regardless of constraint.

        The thing is, rights holders are well aware of the impact and effect, artificially constraining and shaping supply has. That they continue to choose to use geoblock, operate divergent markets, choose to enter into (profitable) exclusive release cycles, and so forth comes down, frankly, to the amount of money they make.

        Apple and the music industry has a chequered history; record labels have previously whined at how the (iTunes Music Store) pricing structure basically flattened the existing tiered model. And that they now had to share profits.

        At the end of the day – the sums of money made are huge. The industry doesn’t like to share that income.

        But, the music industry, over time, kicking-and-screaming have come to the point where content is now available on almost any platform imaginable, is trivially easy to access, despite many being paid models, and people are happy to part with money for that ease-of-access.

        Steam examples that, whilst piracy will never cease to exist, the ease of access the service offers, means people will fall over themselves to spend.

    • “The only difference is that now they can choose to access it without paying for it, whereas previously they simply went without” — Agree with everything else, but a slight disagreement with this one. In short, in the past people still tried to access content cheaply or freely.

      Before VHS (which, if people remember, was going to ruin the industry) you had people that would sneak into drive-ins or cinemas. People avoiding paying for entertainment. Prior to that, you had an industry that catered to the rich, and were protected by copyright laws, yet the common printing press allowed the commoner to access books very cheaply (relatively speaking).

      Essentially ignoring the copyright on products, and making a tidy profit regardless.

      This is nothing new, apart from the process. People want easier access, and will inevitably find a way. Eventually the industry adapts, and finds a way to turn a profit.

      The printing press example was in the industrial revolution by the way, and basically paved the way for everyone to have access to books and magazines. They forced the publication industry to find a way where they could make a profit from products costing 1/100th what they previously did at retail.

  14. The article said Australians didn’t want to pay for access if they had affordable access in a timely manner. But when they clarified “payment” it was a subscription. I don’t want to pay a subscription to watch TV. I also don’t want to pay quickflix or itunes to own an season or epsode, since I only want to watch it once.

  15. I pirate tv shows. and I buy bluray movies, games from steam (21 games this year, including at least one game that I already had a pirated version of (and worked))
    making stuff available will reduce piracy. will it eliminate it? no. but it will reduce it

  16. If the only options for Australians are Foxtel or ITunes, I will continue to torrent.

    Foxtel, what a piece of overpriced crap! and I cant stand the restrictions of apple and ITunes.

    If I enjoy the movie or series, I buy the Blu ray

  17. I consume almost all of my music via a Spotify subscription these days. Being affordable, a massive range of content, new content release quickly helps. The big thing though is it’s easier and more convenient than everything else available to me, including pirated content.

    I’ve got the client installed on my phone (with 25gb of “extreme” quality tracks cached to a SD card), on several computers, on 3 tablets and even my Linux based home theater PC. Massive library everywhere for a low monthly cost. Pirating would be harder, so why bother.

    I had a Quickflix subscription. The content sucked compared to what’s available in other parts of the world (even then, access to content is better via piracy than Netflix, Hulu Plus etc).

    If there were something like Spotify for TV and Movies (rapid release of a really broad range of content) that would work on just about any device (Unlike the stupid stuff some companies do…. Foxtel I’m looking at you. WTF with the limited Samsung Android releases…. even then I’ve gone from a Samsung Note 2 to Note 3 and now I can’t have Foxtel Go on my phone….. Might as well just download what I want and take it on the phone with me).

    Big library. Stable back catalogue (not making 2 seasons out of 7 available for 2 months at a time for eg), fast release of new content, offline caching (even with DRM so long as a huge range of devices are supported), reasonable cost and you’ve got me. Make it more convenient than piracy and you can have my money. I’d pay $50 per month for a Movie/TV service that let me watch where and when I want with the option of offline caching ( so I can still watch Breaking Bad on the train without paying a telco bazillions for data and without getting interrupted in tunnels).

  18. Er… Im confused.

    27% of respondents download stuff for free, but 42% of respondents would continue downloading stuff for free even if it were available in a cheap and timely manner?

      • So… the actual stats are 27% of Australians pirate (which has dropped 5% since last year) and that number might drop to 11% (0.27*0.42) if there were better options?

        That sounds like people stopping pirating, to me.

        • Yep.

          Headline would better read: Cheap, legal options wouldn’t stop some Australians pirating

  19. Wanting to download something for free is not the same as pirating. For example, in the US, Hulu has a free option.

    • I expect/hope that the pollsters made that distinction clear from the outset. Personally, I download a lot of free music from Bandcamp, as I’ve found a number of quality independent artists in musical genres that I like. But if I were to take this poll, I’d understand the intent.

  20. “If television shows, music and movies were all made available at the same time around the world and for a low price….”

    Fuck yes. That’s all I ever wanted.

    Pirates will still pirate, but this will have a positive impact. Believe that….

  21. Takes 10 minutes to set up Netflix and Hulu in Australia. VPN, credit card, PC / xbox / Apple TV . Google how to set up Netflix in Australia. Say goodbye to foxtel forever. No excuse to torrent at $8 per month

    • If I have to break to rules to access content I may as well do it in a way I can load it into my media server and have it easily accessible from all my devices.

      If someone starts a service where I can get good quality videos with no drm that I can load into my media server, they will have my money. Until then it BDs, DVDs and torrents for me, as they give the best flexibility for me. If they want to watermark the video I’d have no problem with that as long as they’re not stupid about it.

      Lack of DRM has not killed the music industry, don’t see why the movie industry is any different.

  22. There’s also a privacy issue there, of not wanting “big data” keeping track of everything you buy.

  23. I can’t really get too excited about the survey – asking pirates if they are going to continue to pirate is not the most balanced demographic to poll.

    There will always be piracy, nothing will be a perfect solution. That doesn’t mean that something shouldn’t be done if it makes a significant contribution to the situation.

    I also suspect that the responses were driven by a deep seated mistrust of the content distribution industry, and with good reason – they have been actively shafting the consumer for years. They need to show good before they earn anyone’s trust.

  24. Torrentfreak is a site that is blocked to federal politicians by the aph internet filter.

  25. Wanted to watch finale for breaking bad at a friends place on the day of the finale release. They didn’t have cable. iTunes doesn’t upload the episode until midnight

    Torrent was the only choice.

    Paying over $1000/year for wanting to watch a single show is a little much. I know you get HUNDREDS of other channels, but what’s the point if you don’t want to watch any of it?

    • For $85/month I certainly didnt get hundreds of channels. Would be closer to 30 or 40, if you count the repeat channels and FTA channels.

      A lot of the channels you get are basically avenues for repeats of old shows, or stuff you normally wouldnt watch anyway. Reality is that its simply not worth the cost for the minimal live or new content they deliver across the range of channels you can access.

      Even the sports channels were often repeats, particularly in the few days after a round of footy.

  26. Stupid headline but good article.

    The 2% itunes figure – was the poll set up to record only the most critical reason people download, or all the reasons people download?

  27. The media industry has created the problem for themselves.

    By failing to meet consumer demand and making available affordable copies on-line consumers have been trained to look for free copies.

    Simple economics 101 – supply and demand.

    The problem now is to retrain consumers to purchase legal copies. That is much harder and slower to achieve.

  28. People will always pirate no matter what – it will never be stopped just like petty theft will never be erased from our society. What these companies need to do is make money where money can be made by providing easy access legal mediums for obtaining the content. Not lockin contracts with Foxtel that mean only they can play the show. Seriously maybe Foxtel could get the first 24 hours for the ep but then iTunes etc get rights to make it available after that: If not expect to lose that revenue stream cause non-foxtel peeps have no other means to watch it legally.

    Media companies then need to have a goal to increase revenue by a certain level based on legal download methods and accept that piracy will always exist so they can only do so much to fight it. Not everyone who pirates a show would buy it just like not everyone who watches it on tv for free would buy the dvd.

  29. Not a particularly useful poll in my opinion.

    A large number of respondents who have pirated wouldn’t have admitted to it and these are the people most likely to pay for cheap and easy alternatives. And even of the 27%, 41% of those said they would stop pirating while 17% on the fence presumably would wait to see what this hypothetical product was like.

  30. So why are we criminalising one third of the Australian population? One third of the population is not an insigficant amount, all previous efforts at prohibiting this behaviour have failed, and according to the survey future efforts at prohibition will also be actively resisted. When you are dealing with a number as high as one third of the population is there really any point in trying to portray them as a fringe subgroup, you might just as well simply call us Australians, at least one out of three times you will be refering to the correct person.

  31. 41% said they WILL PAY for content (18% subscriptions + 23% purchase), and I belive that a good portion of that other 47% could be converted over.

    I’ll give you another reason to pirate: the legal options don’t allow you to download and watch later, like on public transport with sporatic mobile reception and aircraft.

  32. 3 Key Questions:

    1. Who paid for the report?

    2. Did they publish the actual questions asked?

    3. Did they publish the raw, unmanipulated data?

    Without this info it’s merely a curio of ‘marketing only’ value unless you’re gullible.

  33. Never have illegally downloaded anything but I sympathise with those that have.

    When a company tells me they won’t sell me access to a particular TV show unless I also pay for access to a bunch other shows I have no interest in then I call that unscrupulous and unethical.

    Foxtel needs to have a service that allows you to buy access to individual shows. If they had this they would have made significantly more money from me than they currently do (they get nothing at the moment). Sure it will never eliminate illegal downloads but I’m sure a huge number of people who illegally download would purchase if the product they wanted was available at a reasonable price.

    I spend several hundred dollars a year purchasing TV shows from iTunes when they are available. Apparently this isn’t enough for Foxtel who would like to scam hundreds of dollars more by packaging the shows I want in with a bunch of other stuff that I don’t care for. And so many of the shows that I would absolutely purchase I can’t.

    Foxtel do this because they clearly feel they make more money pressuing people into buying something they actually never wanted. If anyone is damaging the entertainment industry it is companies like Foxtel with their restrictive practices. Its akin to third line forcing except I guess Foxtel is not a third party so they get away with it.

    I thoroughly despise Foxtel.

    • I’m just getting rid of my foxtel now. I had it mainly for a couple of channels that I ultimately didnt watch as much as I expected, and for the sports. Always the sports. But I’ve come to realise that its not worth the $85 I spent per month, for the content I watched.

      I’m much better off dumping $50/month into iTunes, and downloading the shows that I want to watch through that service. I’m going to come out well in front. For sports, there are other options that also ultimately save money.

      It will be an interesting experiment. I’ve just bought an iPad (yay tax return!) so it opens up the world of mobility that little bit more. I resist Apple products as well as I can, but the initial reaction has been quite impressive. Nearly set up as I want, should be tweaking from now on, but I’ll keep tabs on the content I buy over time and see how it goes. Next NRL season will be the test.

  34. One reason why I continue to pirate is because I’m not willing to hand over my cash to the man who spread propaganda and bought the election, Rupert Murdoch.

  35. Americans have access to services as in Netflix and Hulu and yet they still infringe and share, who do you think are putting up the torrents to begin with not us we just download it as we can’t or have difficulty getting it. MPAA if you are serious stop the US seeders and stop complaing about us Aussie’s copyright infringing and start providing, We will pay

  36. The most significant fact is that you don’t train a racehorse all his life to be an absolute speed daemon then expect him to turn around tomorrow and take up knitting.

    The content industry has FORCED (yes, I’m using that word, because it is the truth in every sense except exact literal legal interpretation) consumers to break the law in order to access content, then want to whine about copyright infringement.

    I’d bet good money that if “all this changed overnight” and “fair, reasonable and timely” access was made to the vast majority of content…. within 10 years “piracy” would be background noise and literally nobody (not even the content industry) would care anymore.

    And in the process ALL they’ve had to do is remove the barriers preventing people throwing their money at content.

    Seriously folks, before STEAM came out and was a huge success, any survey asking “would you purchase game content distributed online” would have gotten laughed at – nobody could imagine how well implemented and completely convenient STEAM would be.

  37. I seriously doubt that the researchers went back in time to remove the p3ni5 from the 4nu5 of the Australian Consumer

  38. The survey sounds very flawed. Pirated shows are superior to legal offerings because they are free, in multiple excellent formats designed specifically for the end user with no DRM, are easier to get and store, work on everything, anytime, anywhere and of course are free. Media companies can easily compete on many of these features if they choose to. If they doggedly insist on ham-fisted control of our experience of the media, they will continue to face high piracy rates.

    Steam successfully competed with piracy for PC games due to a combination of reasons. Good prices, easy accessibility from any PC, simplicity of use, and it actively adds to the experience through the friends list, steam community and keeping track of all your games so you only need to remember one username/password combination, not hundreds of CD keys and so on. Media companies need to offer something similar, acknowledging we want it convenient and on any device we choose without restrictions.

  39. If 23% said they would purchase and download the content if it was available world wide at the same time for a reasonable price isn’t that 23% more than the studios/distributors are getting now.

    I understand there would be costs in setting something like this up but here is 23% of the survey respondents willing to give you money and your not taking advantage because … ?

  40. …you say in Summary: ‘And yet we continue to pirate and state that we would do so regardless of whether cheap and legal options were available to get this content in a timely manner’…

    Yet this does not reflect the survey result, which found (roughly):

    40% would continue to download (well 42%)
    40% would pay to download (well 41%; 23% pay and download, 18% subscribe)
    20% don’t know (well 18%)

    Your summary is not quite accurate. “Yet we continue to pirate” perhaps should be…

    **Given a choice to pay or not; of the 80% who could make up their mind, half would continue to copy and half would pay.**

    Quite a change in emphasis. (rf)

  41. and its also in the training, the media industry has trained a lot of people to pirate first and look for legit ways second, why would this change. Its always a bigger hassle to pay and download legit then it is to do it for free.

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