According to the results of a recent Digital Life America study, roughly 18% of the US online population download movies online, and approximately 80% percent of that do so illegally. The self-funded study, conducted over a period of four months in 2006, included results from a nationally representative sample of 2,616 Americans (via phone and online survey) and is supposed to be accurate to plus or minus 2.4%.
The profile of an average P2P downloader is a 29-year-old male (63% are male, 37% female) with 16 movie titles stored on his computer. Only 40% of those surveyed believed that downloading copyrighted movies was a "very serious offense." This can be either attributed to the fact that pirates perceive celebrities and studios as "rich enough" or that they consider the risk vs. reward equation, factoring convenience and price, and ultimately find the illegal download is a superior option to the legal download. Other data from the survey indicates that Americans are increasingly using their PCs as media centers: 81% have watched some sort of video content on their computers, not including user-generated video sites such as YouTube.
"The current crop of 'download to own' movie services and the new ones coming into the market will need to offer greater flexibility of use, selection, and low prices to convert the current users to their services, otherwise, file-sharing will continue to thrive. Consumers who are interested in downloadable movies are turned off by restrictions on what they can do with the content afterwards, as well as lack of cross-platform and cross-device compatibility. This is even more important for movies (compared to music) because it's a bigger ticket item. The more perceived limitations there are, the slower the adoption of 'legal' alternatives," said study director Kaan Yigit.
News source: Ars Technica