A study by the NPD Group shows peer-to-peer digital video downloads reign supreme in the US, outpacing legal alternatives such as the itunes Store by five to one. What people are downloading is also an interesting point.
In US households with members regularly using the Internet, approximately eight percent -- six million households, all told -- downloaded at least one digital video file 10MB or bigger from a peer-to-peer service for free in the third quarter of 2006.
By comparison, about 1.2 million U.S. households -- about two percent of those households that regularly use the Internet -- paid for a video download from an on-line store. The itunes Store was the most popular source for legal video downloads -- 90 percent overall. Vongo, Movielink and Cinemanow trailed itunes.
Of the pirated content downloaded through peer-to-peer services, the study says about 60 percent was adult film content, while 20 percent was TV show content and five percent was mainstream movie content.
Comparatively, legal downloaded content consisted about 62 percent of TV program content, 24 percent of music video content and six percent of movie content, according to the report.
Russ Crupnick, vice president and senior industry analyst for the NPD Group, says that on-line video piracy is less pervasive than it is for music, but he called it a "crucial issue" for the film industry.
"Even though right now the majority of downloaded video content is adult-film content, the amount of intellectual property stolen from mainstream movie studios, networks, and record labels will continue to rise, unless strong and sustained action is taken to prevent piracy," says Crupnick in a statement.
"Paid usage could double or triple within the next year as more content comes on-line, consumers acquire more video-enabled players and movies are offered that consumers can actually burn to DVD," Crupnick says.