Streaming, downloads, or legal action, may be responsible for a further decline in the piracy rate in Australia
The number of Australians who willingly admit to watching pirated content has dropped again in the last year, according to a new survey.
The survey commissioned by the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association (AHEDA) and conducted by Gfk ConsumerScope found that just 16% of the 3185 individuals surveyed admitted to watching pirated film and television content.
This is down from 21% a year ago, 24% in 2015 and 29% in 2014.
While most commentators put the piracy decline down to the increasing availability of legal options such as Netflix and Australia's own native streaming service, Stan, others argue it's actually recent legal and technical actions that are responsible for the decline.
Australia has recently started to block piracy related websites, with 40 sites already being blocked, while a local film distributor has even threatened to sue individual pirates.
Simon Bush, the chief executive of AHEDA, says that these actions, as well as new high-profile advertising campaigns warning about the dangers of piracy, may have contributed to the piracy decline.
However, the correlation between the introduction of legal streaming and downloading options, such as Netflix and Stan's introduction in 2015, the year that piracy rates started dropping, cannot be ignored. Recent research by pollsters Roy Morgan suggests that Netflix is already in 31.8% of Australian homes.
Digital distribution via per-per-view services has also increased significantly according to data from AHEDA, with the market now worth $206 million compared to the same market being worth only $81.7 million in 2011.
While digital is definitely on the up, physical media sales continue to decline in Australia just like the rest of the developed world. Physical media sales in 2016 was worth $806 million, down from the peak of $1.39 billion in 2009.