Study Suggests a Simple Way to Deter Piracy of TV Shows and Movies

Feb 16, 2011  •  Post A Comment

A survey from PricewaterhouseCoopers suggests that one simple step–perhaps even an obvious one–might go a long way to deterring consumers from piracy of television shows and movies, according to Bloomberg News.

That step would be to lower prices. The study found that people who admit to piracy say they are unwilling to pay more than $1 for TV shows and $3 for movies.

The survey also found that 81% of people who admit to stealing shows and films say they’re unlikely to stop, with 40% indicating they’ll likely start pirating content on mobile devices in the next six months.

“Aside from the traditional reason of price, leading factors driving illegal consumption of film and television content include consumers’ desire for earlier access, a perception that ‘everyone is doing it’ and the proliferation of free content available online,” the company said, according to the story.


  1. Here’s another option? Stop calling it piracy. I pay for cable and for premium channels and I pay to rent a DVR. I can record shows, but I can only watch it on that TV? If my DVR crashes (it has a couple of times) then I can’t grab those shows online to watch them? The industry wants to use the public airways to distribute the first showing, but then charge for viewing on different TV’s and different platforms (I like to watch on iPad). The laws allows free use of materials at the library. How about we change the laws to recognize that the Internet has become our LIBRARY and apply those laws of free use to the Internet. One used to be able to borrow a VHS recording of a show from a neighbor or friend. Now the DMCA makes that illegal.

  2. Stop calling it piracy and start using the word theft, which it is.
    Even people who don’t engage in the practice think of “piracy” in a yo-ho-ho, Johnny Depp sense of the word, hiding the fact that home video releases are now the way most productions actually turn a profit. Eliminate that and the amount of product plummets, and I don’t think most people would relish the thought of having to watch people’s YouTube videos as their only source of entertainment.
    The other thing that could be done? Actually release product. Rights holders have to know that if you don’t release it, people will steal it because they have no other choice. Fan of the TV Show Ed? You’ve got to buy a set of pirated DVDs. Want the Bing Crosby film High TIme? Fox has never bothered to release it on disc, they just run it on Fox Movie Channel. Want episodes of WKRP with their original soundtracks? Same deal.
    It’s especially frustrating when the availability is due to music licensing – you’d think an industry that’s already nearly been wiped out due to theft wouldn’t want to take down another one, but that’s what’s happening. Upstanding people who would never otherwise steal do so because “they won’t let me buy it legally.”
    The pricing argument is a bit silly, as it’s impossible to compete with “free,” no matter what the survey says. Music downloads are $.99 on most sites, yet most young adults still steal – hey, that $.99 could go towards a beer instead.

  3. Piracy…Theft….The industries (TV, Movies, Music) need to use a mirror…I call it GREED. 99 cents per song is what LP’s and CD’s cost, yet digital downloads have NONE of the costs associated with physical media. Theft/piracy has many downsides, and many more people would buy if the price were fair – I say 49 cents per song. Impulse buying is what makes America run.

  4. Let me add one more suggestion for discouraging piracy — offer legal downloads that are DRM-free. If you pirate an episode of a TV show, you get a copy that you can freely copy and use on any device — but if you decide to be honest and pay, you get a copy that is rendered near useless by DRM.
    And considering that the same shows that are sold with restrictive DRM are still available through pirate sites, it’s not like the DRM is even proving to be effective. So stop it already.

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