The 2008 Digital Entertainment Survey, commissioned by specialist media lawyers Wiggin, was reported by Entertainment Media Research.
The research surveyed 1,608 UK consumers aged 15-54 in January 2008 and comprises a comprehensive analysis of digital entertainment consumption patterns, trends, preferences and attitudes across all forms of entertainment activity.
Top 5 headline findings of the survey are:
1. 7 out of 10 pirates say they would cease pirating if they received a warning from their ISP
2. Blu-ray predicted to be highest growth digital entertainment activity in 2008
3. Consumers want social networks to become major content distribution platforms
4. Massive interest in on-demand programming as long as it's free
5. Digitally recorded television is seriously affecting advertising reach
Key facts on this story from the survey:
- 70% of those pirating digital content say they would stop downloading unauthorised content if they received an email or call from their ISP - this rises to 78% of male and 75% of female teens
- 66% would stop downloading completely if they felt there was a higher chance of being caught
- 62% say they are concerned about stories of prosecution in the news
Alexander Ross, Music and Technology Partner at Wiggin, says: "These findings are encouraging for content owners and demonstrate that the Government's proposals to compel ISPs to take measures to control illegal filesharing could have a huge impact when implemented."
Russell Hart, Chief Executive of Entertainment Media Research, commented: "Fear of being caught is a strong theoretical deterrent but most pirates believe it's unlikely they will be prosecuted. If pirates themselves say that a direct warning from their ISP is the most effective measure then this reinforces current thinking to combat piracy with an ISP strategy."
Blu-ray predicted to be highest growth digital entertainment activity in 2008
The survey includes a comprehensive audit of the future entertainment take-up of 49 digital and entertainment activities. Watching movies on high definition movie disks is predicted to have the highest growth in 08. Around 1 in 4 (24%) consumers surveyed stated they intend to start watching movies on this format in the next 6 months. This is at least double the intention rate of any other entertainment activity.
One key reason for predicted growth is the resolution of the format war with HD-DVD. 62% of consumers said they were put off buying a next generation disk player because of concerns about obsolescence.
Consumers want social networks to become major content distribution platforms
Over 1 in 4 users of social networks (27%) agree that social networks could be the main way to access video and music. Many more are interested in using social networks to access distributed (streamed or broadcast) entertainment content. Acceptance is particularly high among the under 25s (40% for males aged 20-24).
The ability of social networks to offer an interactive and participative environment together with the content provision is a major draw - over 1 in 4 sees the benefit in being able to chat with others or interact with the content as it is being streamed.
Russell Hart, Chief Executive of Entertainment Media Research, commented: "With a substantial proportion (27%) saying social networks could become the main way in which they access content in the future, social networks have the opportunity to be the content delivery platform of tomorrow. That over 60% of the under 25s regularly use social networks, taking the content to them is strategically compelling."
Massive interest in on-demand programming as long as it's free
The survey reveals consumer demand for on-demand programming is potentially huge. The clear content leader is recently released movies (84% interested and 48% definitely interested). Opportunities also exist in other sectors. The music industry should note the high levels of demand to watch live music concerts (72% interested) and recorded gigs (67% interested).This could well be a rich new revenue stream for the music industry. Comedy is also notably popular (79% interested and 1 in 3 definitely interested).
Current use of on-demand services is limited. YouTube is the most popular provider (used by 37% of consumers) and Channel 4's 4OD service is top amongst broadcasters (15% use). Project "Kangaroo," the mooted single platform service from the BBC, ITV and C4 heightens interest. 52% (69% of males under 25) said they are more interested in this service than other services.
Strong demand exists for on-demand content but what about consumer willingness to pay? When confronted with the three options - subscription with unlimited content, PPV and free ad-supported models - the free model wins comprehensively. 70% would rather put up with the ads than pay for the content.
Consumers will pay selectively for some content types eg 33% are definitely interested in tv comedy but only 21% are prepared to pay for it. Conversely, 48% are definitely interested in recent movies and 53% are willing to pay. Live music (40%) and sports (52%) also generate strong willingness to pay.
Digitally recorded television is seriously affecting advertising reach
Of those consumers with fast-forward technology (Sky+, Windows Media Center and digital video recorders), just 4% only watch live broadcasts while 23% mostly watch recorded programmes and when watching recorded commercial television 80% fast forward the adverts "most of the time" or "all of the time." Only 6% rarely / never fast-forward the adverts.
This behaviour is consistent across all demographics. Furthermore, 2 out of 3 agree with the statement "I actively try to avoid as many television ads as possible" showing that ad avoidance is a major issue.
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