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Video Piracy Dips in France

But more than a quarter of internet users still accessed content illegally in 2016

March 6, 2017 | Video

Video piracy in France is beginning to decline as legal authorities crack down. According to a study by Médiamétrie produced in collaboration with the Association de Lutte Contre La Piraterie Audiovisuelle (ALPA), the Centre national du cinéma et de l’Image animée (CNC) and Trident Media Guard (TMG), the number of internet users ages 2 and older in France who accessed digital video content illegally via desktop/laptop in 2016 fell 8% to 13 million.

Internet Users* in France Who Access Digital Video Content Illegally, 2010-2016 (millions and % of total monitored by Médiamétrie)

Médiamétrie’s report attributed the drop to “judicial actions” taken in France last year to cut down on digital video piracy, such as the closure in November of popular direct download (DDL) site zone-telechargement.com. Nevertheless, it concluded that 27% of France’s 48 million internet users had still engaged in the practice last year.

The study was based on monitoring of 35,000 internet users from the Médiamétrie//Netratings panel, via software installed on their various digital devices. It tracked the use or accessing of a list of 20,000 applications, platforms and URLs identified as dedicated to piracy of audiovisual content.

A majority (56%) of those accessing digital video content illegally on a PC were male, the study found, and most were ages 35 to 49 (32%) or 25 to 34 (23%). The average age of offenders was 38, but they ultimately ran the gamut from children to seniors ages 65 and older.

Demographic Profile of Internet Users* in France Who Access Digital Video Content Illegally, Dec 2016 (% of total)

Direct download (DDL) was the most popular method for accessing content illegally, as in years past, but in 2016 streaming moved into second place, overtaking peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing methods.

Illegal streaming was also notable for females comprising a larger share of total users (49%) than either DDL (44%) or P2P (33%), and for reaching its highest average number of monthly visitors (6.81 million) since the study began in 2009.

Mobile devices also played a sizeable role in accessing digital video content illegally, the study found. Approximately 5% of smartphone users and 8% of tablet users—equal to 1.9 million and 2.2 million users, respectively—employed those devices to access content unlawfully in 2016.

According to a February 2017 report by EY, pirated audiovisual content cost France an estimated €1.35 billion ($1.42 billion) in lost tax revenues and earnings last year.

—Cliff Annicelli

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