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Many Millennials Watch Pirated Content—and Feel Fine About It

And they watch it regularly, too

January 25, 2017 | Advertising & Marketing | Demographics

Well more than half of millennials have watched pirated material, and of those, roughly a third watch it at least once a month.

That's the finding of a new survey from digital security concern Irdeto.

Given the wide array of legal video and music options available, the results of the survey are sobering, if not entirely surprising.

The survey found that many millennials don't feel guilty about viewing pirated content. It asked the respondents how they felt about pirated material, given that watching it could cause studios and content producers to lose money. About 44% of the millennials who view pirated content said that this would have no effect on their habits. Indeed, 10% of those ages 18 to 24 and 14% of those ages 25 to 34 said it that only whetted their appetite even more.

The Irdeto data is the just the latest in a string of studies going back over the years that finds that a significant number of consumers (young ones in particular) simply are not troubled by the idea of viewing piracy. July 2016 research from Anatomy Media found even higher levels of pirated-material viewing than the Irdeto study: Anatomy found that 69% of 18- to 24-year-olds watch pirated content.

Leading Ways in Which US Millennial* Internet Users Watch Digital Video Content Illegally, July 2016 (% of respondents)

But the ways consumers get pirated content have changed. Torrenting, once the dominant form of gaining access to pirated content, has given way to desktop streaming or mobile apps. And, interestingly, Anatomy found that these young users tend to see streaming as less "wrong" than downloading. Fewer of them believed that streaming pirated content is wrong, and in parallel with that, fewer of them believed that streaming pirated content is illegal.

—Alison McCarthy

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