GB: Is content piracy on the up?
August 2nd, 2023, Mike Woods

GB: Is content piracy on the up?

Amid rising costs and stricter implementation of password sharing policies, are consumers now leaning toward watching content on unauthorized sites if the alternative is paid subscriptions?

Last year over a quarter of Britons (25%) indicated that they search for content from unauthorized sources as an alternative to paid sources of content. Data from a recent YouGov Surveys: Serviced study shows that the share has now slightly decreased to 23% of consumers who say that they watch content on unlicensed sites. Over half of Britons say they don’t seek out unlicensed content (55%), up by 12% since last year. This indicates that Britons are more likely to take the legal route when watching streaming content than Americans.

Looking through the lens of income reveals some interesting insights. Consumers with the highest household income (£100,000 and over) are most likely to agree that they actively search for content from free-to-use unlicensed sites if the alternative is to have to pay for it (35%).

Over a quarter of Britons with a household income of under £9,999 (27%) and between £50,000 to £99,999 (26%) agree that they actively seek content like sports, TV shows, music, among others, on free-to-use unlicensed sites. It’s those with a household income between £10,000 to £49,999 who are least likely to agree with the statement.  However, more than a fifth of this audience segment (22%) still do so.

Around a quarter of British consumers say cost is a reason why they take the illegal route (25%). Among consumers belonging to the highest income group, the share rises to a third (32%).

Nearly two in ten Britons say they watch content on unauthorised sites simply because of the unavailability of certain content in the region (18%). A sizeable share of consumers say they want access to a broader range of content (14%). About one in eight cite not wanting to subscribe to multiple streaming services as a reason.

Wanting to watch newly released content sooner is why 12% of Britons resort to unlicensed sites.

Among consumers who seek content on unauthorised sites, a majority of Britons say that it’s only an occasional activity and they mostly watch from legitimate platforms (65%).

Yet a sizeable proportion (13%) say they exclusively/mostly watch content from unauthorised sources. Consumers between the age groups of 18 to 24 and 25 to 34 years are most likely of all to say they watch exclusively/mostly from unlicensed sites (20% each).

Fewer than one in ten Britons (9%) watch content equally from unauthorized websites and legitimate streaming platforms, with 18-24-year-old consumers most likely to say so (14%).

If streaming services collaborated to offer a bundled subscription package with multiple platforms at a discounted price, nearly two thirds of Britons who watch content on unauthorized sites say they are likely to choose that option (64%).

Around 12% of Britons are unlikely to take up bundled subscriptions with an equal share saying it’s somewhat unlikely and very unlikely (6% each) for them to pay for a discounted bundled subscription.

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Methodology: YouGov Surveys: Serviced provides quick survey results from nationally representative or targeted audiences in multiple markets. This study was conducted online on July 4-5, 2023, with a nationally representative sample of 2000 adults in Great Britain (aged 18+ years), using a questionnaire designed by YouGov. Data figures have been weighted by age, gender, education and region to be representative of all adults. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Serviced.