A recent study by the British communication regulator OFCOM has revealed some surprising facts about internet piracy. The study showed that those who said they pirated digital media actually spend more money on legally acquired digital media then those that don’t pirate at all, in fact on average it’s about three times as much as those who don’t pirate anything.
According to the study, only a small number of consumers, around 4%, only obtain digital media illegally; while 12% obtain it both legally and illegally. The numbers showing which group spent the most was consistent across movies, T.V. and music. Many of those polled said that the price tag was a big factor when it came to illegally downloading media. This implies that if their movies, songs and T.V. shows were more affordable then they would be more likely to purchase them.
Another common reason given for piracy is lack of availability. I recall a pretty funny web comic depicting an individual trying to watch Game of Thrones who did not have HBO, trying to buy episodes or watch it on a variety of services he paid for and being denied at every turn. The comic mirrors the opinions of fans of Game of Thrones and many other shows.
The music industry in particular has taken a strong stance against piracy in the past decade, claiming that it hurt the industry. However, the music industry has actually been experiencing a large increase in revenue in the same time period, something also true in ticket sales at the box office.