Australia: Cost and increasing variety drive consumers back to pirate sources

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Price increases of subscription services and a growing number of services available is sending some Australian’s back to piracy, according to the Australian Broadcasting Company (ABC).  Coincidentally, the amount that Australians are spending on streaming services fell to AU$57 per month, down from AU$62 in 2022.

ABC said that in 2023 it would cost $97.95 a month for standard ad-free services, to stream all of the most torrented films, which still would not grant consumers access to all of the films.

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Where streaming is unavailable, one off purchases and rentals are mostly available, but this can add up. Rental prices tend to vary between $2.99 to upward of $24.99, while purchase prices can range from $7.99 to upward of $34.99 depending on the film.

The 2022 survey of online copyright infringement by the office of Australia’s Attorney-General found that more than a quarter of Australian consumers (26%) accessed some movie content through illegal means. For TV programming, it was 22 percent, which has been on the rise for several years.  Live sports was consumed unlawfully by 26% of survey respondants: mostly males between 16 and 44 years of age.

A Deloitte report showed 70 per cent of respondents unsubscribed from their streaming service due to price.

Penalties for piracy in Australia range as high as AU$117,000 in fines and up to five years in prison.

Further reading

Some Aussies claim they’re resuming piracy behaviours. Article. November 10, 2023. Creative Content Australia.

Streaming service price hikes and growing fragmentation sees some Australians return to digital piracy. Article. November 9, 2023. Australian Broadcasting Company

Aussie households are spending less on streaming services, annual report reveals. Article. November 5, 2023. Australian Broadcasting Company

Australian government’s online copyright infringement survey confirms ongoing piracy. Article. February 11, 2023. Piracy Monitor

Why it matters

A substantial proportion of the Australian community continue to report consuming at least some online content.  39% of respondents who had consumed online content in the 2022 survey had done so in at least one way likely to be unlawful (‘infringers’), up from 30% in 2021.

Streaming is the dominant method of consuming content across all major content types, by Australian consumers. Of the respondents who consume online content, almost all consume at least some by streaming – 70% of all respondents in 2022 (compared to 68% in 2021 and 71% in 2020).

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