What’s the profile of a pirate? Findings of new study may surprise

According to a new MTM report, the demographic data of those who acquire content illegally may not be in line with common assumptions.
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By Catherine Phillips, Media in Canada

A new study by Media Technology Monitor (MTM) shows that some assumptions about people who pirate TV, movie and music content may not be accurate.

While the illegal activity is most common among millennials, the report found that many who do so already subscribe to either a digital or traditional TV service. Additionally, the activity seems to be prominent among more affluent people.

The report showed that nearly 80% of Canadians who pirate TV and movie content already have over-the-top (OTT) subscriptions, and 36% of content pirates actually subscribe to two or more OTT services. But it isn’t just the cord-cutters and cord-nevers who pirate: more than half of the respondents who pirate also subscribe to a traditional TV service (59%). Seven per cent of respondents said they pirate as their sole source of TV and movie content.

According to MTM, since many pirates also access TV and movie content legally, pirating may be a way to access specific content online that is otherwise unavailable to them.

The report’s findings show that Canadians aged 18 and to 34 are the most likely to pirate content. Men are also more likely to pirate content than women. It is most common in Manitoba and Saskatchewan (19%) followed by Ontario (14%), Quebec (13%), British Columbia (12%), Atlantic Canada (10%) and Alberta (9%).

Pirating content often involves either file-sharing and pirating websites or media devices such as a Kodi box: 14% of Canadian households reported having a device with Kodi software, with the largest percentage of ownership (27%) being in households with an income of $200,000 and above.

The largest percentage of those pirating TV and movie content online was found to be respondents with a household income of both $35,000 to $75,000 and $150,000 and above (16% each). The lowest percentage (10%) was found to also have the lowest household income (under $35,000). MTM suggests this may indicate the cost of owning pirating technology.

Report data were primarily sourced from the telephone portion of a spring 2018 survey involving 4,163 respondents (including 1,184 via cell-phone only) from across Canada; 1,590 of the respondents also completed a follow-up questionnaire online.

Content piracy is top-of-mind in the domestic film and TV discussion currently, with the CRTC last month shutting down an application from the FairPlay Canada coalition requesting that it institute a website-blocking regime to address piracy.

Last month the CRTC shut down an application from the FairPlay Canada coalition (including Bell, CBC, DHX Media, eOne and the CMPA) requesting that it institute a website-blocking regime to address piracy. The commission rejected the proposal on the grounds that it doesn’t have the jurisdiction to consider it under the Telecommunications Act, adding that “other avenues are more suitable to address this issue,” including the parliamentary review of the Copyright Act.

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