France: ARCOM says piracy ‘stable’ at 24% overall. Some categories up, others down

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French regulator Arcom’s 2023 Consumer Barometer breaks French media consumers into age groups and categorizes the types of programming they consume.  It was based on a survey of 5,006 Internet users, aged 15 and above.  Illegal consumption was part of the study.

The most pirated content among Internet users in 2023 were films (12% of users), TV series (9%) and music (6%), which was about the same as in 2022.  These three categories were also the three most consumed categories overall.

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The highest piracy rates are among men (55%), people aged 15-24 (31%) and 25-39 (37%, and people in higher socioeconomic tiers (26%.  15% of these consumers admitted to consuming illegally for less than a year and 39% for less than 3 years, which was higher than in 2022.

Illegal consumption trends for cultural and sports content by French consumers 2019-2023 (Arcom)

In 2023, a quarter of French internet users (24%) say they have consumed at least one piece of digital cultural or sporting content illegally in the last 12 months, same as in 2022, but lower than pre-pandemic rates which ranged from 26-28% from 2017 through 2021.

Piracy rates over time in France, 2016-2023 (Source: Arcom)

Among that 24% of consumers, streaming and direct downloading remained the most frequently used for illegal consumption, accounting for 49% and 38% of illegal consumption respectively, although both of those categories were down slightly compared with 2022.

The popularity of cloud services, and Usenet and newsgroups both returned to their 2020 levels, at 21% and 16% respectively; up by 5 points each.

Media consumption overall

The consumption of cultural and sporting content in digital (virtual) by Internet users was up across nearly all categories overall.

Consumption patterns for digital cultural and sporting content over time, 2014-2023 (Source: ARCOM)

Further reading

Barometer of the consumption of dematerialized cultural and sports content – 2023 edition. Landing page.  December 12, 2023. Arcom (in French)

Essentials: Consumption barometer of digital cultural and sporting content, English language version. Executive summary (PDF). December 12, 2023. Arcom

Barometer of the consumption of dematerialized cultural and sports content – 2023 edition.  Full report (PDF). December 12, 2023. Arcom (in French)

Why it matters

Since 2011, the Arcom barometer has reported on the uses and practices, legal and illegal, of consumption by French Internet users. It quantifies the level of consumption of each of the twelve digital cultural and sports content categories.  These catetories are music, films, series, photos, video games, software, digital or audio books, online press, live sports broadcasts, podcasts, live shows, and documentaries.

The Barometer also establishes consumer profiles and analyzes the evolution of uses and the perception of legal offerings.

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