Television

Piracy dominates online video downloads: Study

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MUMBAI: Increased levels of broadband access, powerful and speedy PCs equipped with DVD readers and writers, portable video devices and next generation file sharing services are working in concert to make downloading of video content easier.

According to The NPD Group, a consumer and retail information company, among US households with members who regularly use the internet, eight per cent (six million households) downloaded at least one digital video file (10MB or larger) from a P2P service for free in the third quarter of 2006. Nearly 60 per cent of video files downloaded from P2P sites were adult-film content, while 20 per cent was TV show content and five per cent was mainstream movie content.

The NPD Group VP and senior industry analyst Russ Crupnick says, “While video P2P downloading is less pervasive right now than for music, it is a crucial issue for the film industry to keep track of. Even though right now the majority of downloaded video content is adult-film content, the amount of intellectual property stolen from mainstream movie studios, networks, and record labels will continue to rise, unless strong and sustained action is taken to prevent piracy.”

The offerings in the paid video download arena have also made inroads with consumers. In Q3 2006 two per cent of US households (1.2 million) with Internet access paid for a video download from an online download store. Apple’s iTunes led the market for paid digital video downloads, with nine in 10 downloads occurring on that site, followed by Vongo (five per cent), Movielink (three per cent) and less than one percent for CinemaNow. 62 per cent was TV programme content, 24 per cent was music video content and six per cent was mainstream movie content.

On a more positive note paid usage could double or triple within the next year as more content comes online, consumers acquire more video-enabled players and movies are offered that consumers can actually burn to DVD.

The competition between Apple’s iTunes/iPod juggernaut and Microsoft’s Zune platform will whet consumers’ appetites for digital video, though it will be quite a long time before we see consumers completely abandon the DVD in favor of digital downloads.

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