Movie Downloading Spurred by Broadband

High-speed may be an accomplice to movie piracy, as a Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) survey, conducted by Online Testing Exchange (OTX), found that nearly one-quarter of primarily broadband Internet users have downloaded movies.

Roughly 2,900 of the 3,600 participants in the eight-country study were broadband users, and the samples were augmented in several countries to produce a minimum of 100 downloaders for each country.

The study says that broadband users were specifically targeted, as they represent the next generation of Internet users. This assumption is supported by findings from Nielsen//NetRatings that put home broadband at 49 percent of all U.S. Web connections as of May 2004, surging from just 9 percent of the active online population in 2000.

Dial-up maintains a narrowband edge over broadband – 66.5 million and 63 million respectively – but with the current rate of high-speed subscription growth, the tipping point is imminent.

The amount of time spent online and the number of pages visited for broadband users are roughly double their narrowband counterparts, further suggesting that high-speed presents an optimum technological environment for downloading.

Spurred by high-speed, the MPAA study found that more than half (56 percent) of those who download movies don’t expect to discontinue the activity, and 17 percent of non-downloaders are likely to begin downloading movies from the Internet.

While the survey didn’t specify what types or portions of movies were being downloaded, the overwhelming majority (79 percent) of respondents found downloading films before theatrical release to be unacceptable.

The MPAA/OTX report found that Koreans led the trend with more than half of respondents reportedly downloading movies, while Japan had the fewest number of admitted downloaders.

Incidence of Downloading Films
Korea 58%
France 27%
U.S. 24%
Italy 20%
UK 20%
Germany 19%
Australia 18%
Japan 10%
Overall 24%
Source: MPAA/OTX

According to a pre-released section of an October 2004 comprehensive technology report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), video, games, software and image downloads increased over the year, while the incidence of music downloads shrunk.

The study of 30 countries found that European file-sharing networks are robust enough to allow for the transfer of large video files, and video files accounted for 35 percent of downloads in Germany, 32.4 percent in Italy, and 26.1 percent in France. According to the report, more than 31 million films are downloaded via non-commercial methods per month in France, with only 4 percent of Internet users actually paying to view films online.

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