TV tops illegal downloads

Australians illegally download television shows more than music or movies, according to a survey.

Australians illegally download television shows more than music or movies, according to a survey conducted by News Limited.

A survey of more than 7000 people who admitted to downloading the three entertainment formats was conducted in conjunction with market research firm CoreData.

6694 respondents said they had illegally downloaded or streamed a TV show in the past 12 months. Of these, 86.8 per cent said they did so regularly.

When given multiple choices to explain why they illegally downloaded or streamed TV shows, most respondents chose:

1) I’ll have to wait too long to see it on TV (50.7%)
2) I want to be able to watch it whenever I want (41.5 %)
3) It doesn’t have ads (38.9%)
4) It isn’t shown on TV at all (35.9%)
5) It’s convenient (35.6%

When asked how much they would pay for a convenient legal option, respondents chose:

1) $1 per episode (39.2%)
2) Nothing (33.6%)
3) $2 per episode (18.7 %)
4) $3 per episode (8.4%)

Less than 1 per cent of respondents said they downloaded TV shows to share them with friends.

But while downloading television would clearly impact on the potential audience for television shows, there is still no clarity on how big its impact is. Last year when Seven played a World Premiere episode of FlashForward before the US it attracted 984,000 viewers. The week before was only 12,000 less: 972,000.

And as networks upgrade their own streaming catch-up sites, the message from networks has been inconsistent. While Seven is party to the movie studio case against iiNET, Nine has previously actively encouraged use of Bit Torrent filesharing. Last year it offered Underbelly: A Tale of Two Cities via its Hiro-based catch-up video site telling viewers, “You can also copy and share each episode or even distribute the files via file-sharing applications, such as Bit Torrent.”

The News Limited survey indicates two-thirds of respondents would be happy to pay a small fee in order to download television. iTunes was born after the collapse of Napster with a financial model at its heart. iView sprang to life because ABC has an Innovation department as part of its Charter, and is not driven by a profit-return. Commercial networks are slowly waking up to the online market because viewers got there before them.

Source: News Limited

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31 Responses

  1. You wonder why people go down the download route. Did anyone watch Monk on Ten last Saturday? Heaps of ads, Monk only goes for about 40 mins anyway why do you need more than 20 minutes of ads?

    Some of the show was sacrificed for ads as they put an ad in a crucial moment, where Monk and Natalie were trying to hide from gunfire then they had an ad and when they came back from the ad they were saved and you didn’t know how they were exactly saved you had to guess what happened.

    Pretty shonky showing of a good TV show.

  2. You know, its not that HD is something special anymore – its been in this country around 9 years now and the networks can’t get it right with any consistency. Now we have even low – mid range TVs that have screen resolutions that demand HD content. SD just doesn’t cut it, especially with sport. If a show is produced in HD, it should be broadcast in HD.
    Also @Jezza – what a fantastic comment. Why is it we never see network execs answering the customers (hint hint David – maybe try and get a comment from them?). You try and find feedback forms on their websites !

  3. @Jason S: Nine encouraged BitTorrent file-sharing of their “Hiro-powered” AVI files because those files were completely unplayable without installing the “Hiro” adware, which inserted advertising into the low-res wastes of space. You could not play those AVI files on network media players, DVD players etc. Nobody wants to sit at their desk and watch a TV show on a computer monitor. iTunes, same problem, just in that case you pay a ludicrous amount of money to watch it.

    Agreed with everyone re the HD situation. For most shows there is only one source for HD viewing of them, and it’s not FTA TV.

  4. @ bela For free-to-air networks, it hurts them, but for cable channels, eg TNT, HBO, USA Network etc, it’s actually a benefit, it’s not like they have alot of funds to advertise on billboards or anything outside their own channel, so their best source of viewership really is have a bunch of people download their show, and then have those people rave about it ot their best friends, Jersey Shore, Entourage, Secret Life of American Teen, Royal Pains among others are prime examples, all started out with modest ratings, but have gone on to become among their respective channels’ top rated shows, because of internet downloading and word of mouth…

    @ knowfirst, I know how you feel, but when we get flooded with “live” reality TV competition shows that leave the camera on a contestant who stands there with a blank look on their face waiting for the clumsy presenter to open an envelope…. ie. Masterchef, Idol, Dance, MKR etc etc, how can you really expect a show to finish on time… Look at the U.S, if a show runs two minutes overtime, the guys at Neilsen are smashing calculators already. Also, fasttracking is good and all, but there are sweeps in the US, ie, networks can repeat an entire week worth of programming, CBS is reknowned for practicing this, if we did fasttrack, we’d get people raging unnecessarily in November and March, not understanding that you don’t want to air a show that costs $6m to produce and only receive $3million in advertising revenue…

    Ultimately, heavily serialized shows, like Heroes, 24, Prison Break, Lost all will suffer from internet downloading. They’re so serialized, noone wants to have a break in between episodes, or hell even adbreaks… it’s why their DVDs can sell for $40 a season 4 years after they’ve finished, but after 2 weeks on the shelf, CSI won’t fetch $10…

    I remember waiting season 2 of Prison Break finished, and watching the entire season back-to-back, I didn’t leave my seat for 15 hours….At the end of the day, nothing ruins a super-intense situation where you’re hearts racing wondering if the protagonist is going to live or die like an ad for toilet paper or air freshners

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