NZ Study Yet Again Concludes That Piracy Is A Function Of Price And Ease Of Access

from the no-kidding dept

With rates of copyright infringement fluctuating year by year, and country by country, the end result is a debate that goes on as how to best keep rates trending downward. One side of this argument urges a never ending ratcheting up of enforcement efforts, with penalties and repercussions for infringement becoming more and more severe. The other side of the argument suggests that when content is made available in a way that is both convenient and reasonably priced, piracy rates will drop. A decent number of studies have been done that show the latter is the actual answer in this argument, including a study done last summer, which showed innovative business models fare far better than enforcement efforts.

Yet it seems it's going to take a compounding series of these studies to get the point across, so it's worth highlighting yet another study that has come out of New Zealand that concludes that piracy rates are a function of pricing and ease of access to content.

According to a new study commissioned by New Zealand telecoms group Vocus Group NZ and conducted in December 2018, this enhanced availability is having a positive effect.

“Legitimate streaming content providers are achieving what was impossible for Hollywood to get right: they are stamping out piracy by making available the shows people want to enjoy at reasonable cost and with maximum convenience,” Vocus announced this morning.

The company believes that “piracy is dying a natural death” as more locals choose to access content legitimately, via legal services that are both accessible and easier to use than pirate options.

“In short, the reason people are moving away from piracy is that it’s simply more hassle than it’s worth,” says Taryn Hamilton, Consumer General Manager at Vocus Group. “The research confirms something many internet pundits have long instinctively believed to be true: piracy isn’t driven by law-breakers, it’s driven by people who can’t easily or affordably get the content they want.”

We internet pundits have also speculated in past discussions that piracy rates probably have some sort of natural floor to them. In other words, rates aren't going to be 0% and it would be unreasonable both to expect them to be, or to attempt to conjure such fantasy rates into existence through legislative efforts. Instead, content providers need to figure out the sweet spot in pricing and ease of access that reaches or approaches that natural floor. Once they have done so, the job is complete. And, rather than having to worry about which enforcement effort to attempt next, content makers can spend their time instead both creating more content and counting all of their money.

And, as Vocus points out, this is already beginning to occur organically.

“The big findings are that whilst about half of people have pirated some content in their lives, the vast majority no longer do so because of the amount of paid streaming sites that they have access to,” Hamilton added in a video interview with NZHerald.

Indeed, the company’s study shows that 11% of consumers now obtain copyrighted content via illegal streaming platforms, with around 10% downloading infringing content via torrent and similar services.

“Generally the survey has said that the vast minority of people are undertaking piracy – it’s just too hard. People prefer to pay for good quality, cheap, legal content, so we think that’s the best way forward,” Hamilton said.

That convenience is the "RtB" portion of the Cwf+RtB equation. Convenience is worth paying for, as demonstrated by thousands of people that are demonized as just wanting something for free, but who nevertheless subscribe to all kinds of content services and otherwise buy all kinds of content. It's a contradiction worth noticing, assuming that creators want payment above control.

Meanwhile, Hollywood's New Zealand representatives instead want to pretend that none of this data even exists.

In January 2018, the Motion Picture Distributors’ Association, which represents the major Hollywood studios in New Zealand, said that “nothing” can be done to tackle piracy in the country other than site-blocking. Vocus, however, is opposed to this type of action.

That's the kind of lazy attitude only government lobbying could allow. In the real world, there is a great deal that Hollywood could do to tackle piracy, if only they were willing to try.

Filed Under: access, convenience, copyright, innovation, licensed services, price, studies

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  1. icon
    Stephen T. Stone (profile), 1 Mar 2019 @ 4:23pm

    pirates won't pay a cent

    Hi, I paid to watch The Dark Knight twice in theaters and paid to own a DVD copy of the film, and inbetween the theatrical run and the DVD release, I illicitly downloaded a copy of the film because I wanted to see it again. I disprove your absolutist statement. Come back with something original next time, Blue.

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