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Kids don’t think file-sharing is ‘wrong’, would pay for exclusive content

By | Published on Monday 23 June 2014


Perhaps showing that the media and entertainment industries still have some way to go in convincing mainstream consumers to pay for digital content, in a new YouGov survey about half of those questioned said people should be allowed to download content they want for free.

The survey of just over 2500 UK customers (with just over 1900 aged sixteen plus and just over 600 under sixteen) found that legit services offering ad-funded free content were particularly popular, while accessing content from non-legit sources via file-sharing sites or networks is also seen as a cost-saving option. Over a half of adults admitted to file-sharing to save money, while a quarter of those aged 16-24 said it was the only way they could afford to access the content they wanted.

Asked about the ethics of accessing illegal sources of content, of the children surveyed only 16% strongly agreed that doing so was “wrong”, while even less, 7%, equated file-sharing with stealing, despite that being a line often rolled out by the anti-piracy brigade. Meanwhile 60% of the 16-24 year olds surveyed said that companies offering access to unlicensed content, rather than they as content consumers, should be punished for piracy (which in the current climate is a lot more likely anyway).

Asked what would make them pay for content, a fifth of the under 16s said brand new or exclusive content was worth paying for, while 13% said they’d try to pay if they were accessing content from an up-and-coming artist who they wanted to support. Suggesting that the digital music market should adopt a model akin to Netflix, with its exclusive content, combined with Pirate Bay founder Peter Sunde’s Flattr platform, with its virtual tip jar.

Commenting on the findings, YouGov Research Director James McCoy told CMU: “Children aged 8-15 are the key adopters of digital technology, and are likely to be more familiar with accessing content without paying. File sharing is most common amongst younger adults; cost and availability are key drivers”.

“Children in this generation have grown up with digital material and are used to having access to what they want, when they want it and for some of the time not paying for it. They do not just listen and watch digital content; they consume it by downloading, file sharing, streaming, making playlists and going on recommendations from friends or contacts via social media”.

“Whilst they appreciate the issues surrounding piracy and illegal downloads, if they can get away with it, then they will. Why change the habit of a lifetime? The challenge for the industry is to find ways to engage with this group to change their mind-set about accessing content and to educate them in a relevant and non-condescending way about the issues surrounding this matter”.

You can find out more about the YouGov survey here.