An Australian government report has found that legal streaming options have helped to reduce piracy in the country. Better usability, in terms of convenience and speed, were the major factors in people choosing legal over illegal.
The report, titled Consumer survey on Online Copyright Infringement 2016, looked at online behavior of people aged 12 years and older and found that services like Netflix and Spotify have had a significant impact on piracy in Australia.
Comparing the data to data from a year ago, 37% of digital consumers accessed some form of pirated content in the last year, compared to 43% in 2015.
The same fall was observed in all content categories (including movies, TV and music) except for video games, which is the one category that does not yet have a legal streaming service.
The shift to streaming, away from downloading, was also evident in the data. Across all media categories, the number of users downloading dropped from 43% to 39%, while at the same time, streaming use went up from 54% to 57%.
Users were also flocking to paid services in record numbers. Most (50%) cite 'convenience' and speed (39%) as reasons why they chose to pay. The biggest growth in paying users occurred in the area of online movie subscription, where the number of paying users went up from 4% in 2015 to 14% in 2016. These users spend an average of $5.10, up from $1.10 in 2015.
For those that chose to go down the illegal route, 52% says it was because pirated content was free, while 41% said it was because of convenience. 41% chose piracy simply because it was the quickest way to get the content they wanted.
The CEO of Internet Australia, a non-profit group that represents Australian Internet users, welcomed the report and suggested that the industry itself was finding solutions to the piracy problem, and that government intervention is unnecessary despite calls from rights-holders.
"Our view, which was the prime minister's stated position when he was communications minister, is that the best way to deal with unlawful downloading is for rights holders to make their content accessible at reasonable prices," said Internet Australia CEO Laurie Patton.
"This latest report supports this proposition in that the entry of Netflix and local streaming services has indeed seen a significant decline."