Ofcom highlights changing pattern of online piracy

About 18% of UK internet users over the age of 12 who accessed digital entertainment content online used an illegal service in the three months to the end of January, up from 16% for the previous quarter, according to the latest copyright infringement tracker report provided by media regulator Ofcom.

However, the number of people accessing only illegal content fell as a proportion of the total, from 17% to 14% for music and from 26% to 20% for films. The proportion of internet users over 12 consuming TV content illegally in the three month period was 6%.

Ofcom estimated that 280 million music tracks were consumed illegally during the period covered. This was followed by TV programmes with 52 million, films with 29 million and e-books with 18 million. Computer software and video games were equally lowest at seven million.

The number of people who claimed to pay for all of the TV content they consumed online grew from 6% to 10%, while the number who consumed only free content fell from 87% to 82%. The proportion that consumed a mix of free and paid films grew from 15% to 20%.

The proportion of internet users consuming any type of media content over the web grew in the three months to January from 57% to 60% of total internet users.

Across all consumers of illegal content, the median number of files downloaded or streamed illegally was eight. Music had the highest median score across the six content types at 12 tracks. Films, TV programmes and books each had a median score of four, while computer software and video games had a score of two.

A higher proportion of films – 28%) – were consumed illegally than for any other content type.

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