LONDON/NEWPORT: Nearly two-thirds (62%) of UK internet users download or stream content, such as TV shows and music, but one-in-five continue to do so illegally, a new official report has revealed.
The survey, conducted by Kantar Media on behalf of the Intellectual Property Office, questioned more than 5,100 internet users aged 12+ between March and May 2015.
Now in its fifth wave, the Government report found an increase of more than 10% in the take up of legal services since 2013 as well as a 6% rise in online consumption, including both legal and illegal content.
After extrapolating the data, the report concluded that 15m UK internet users access TV programmes online, with 21% accessing some content illegally, while 10m access films online (25% illegally).
BBC iPlayer, YouTube and ITV Player are the top platforms for accessing TV programmes online while Netflix, Amazon and YouTube are the top platforms for film downloads. Netflix alone is responsible for 44% of all film-streaming activity.
15.6m UK internet users access music online, but 26% have done it illegally. Also, perhaps not surprisingly, 16-24 year-olds are the most active for music downloads.
YouTube, Amazon and Spotify are the top platforms used for accessing music, and YouTube accounts for more than half (54%) of all music streaming and downloads.
Turning to other content that UK internet users access or download, e-books are used by 5.6m, followed by computer software (5.5m) and video games (5.2m).
The findings show that the average quarterly spend on downloading and streaming content ranges from £6.68 for TV programmes to £20.28 for music.
Elsewhere, the most common reasons for illegal downloads are because it's free (49%) and convenient (43%), but respondents say they would be encouraged to stop infringing if there are cheaper legal services (25%) and if everything is available legally (21%).
Interestingly, the survey was conducted in parallel with research in Australia. It found that, while British and Australian users consume online media at similar rates, illegal downloading by UK consumers is half the rate than in Australia.
Commenting on the findings, Intellectual Property Minister Baroness Neville-Rolfe, said: "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."
Data sourced from the Intellectual Property Office; additional content by Warc staff