Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Study on estimating displacement rates of copyrighted content in the EU

Study on estimating displacement rates of copyrighted content in the EU
Published on: 25/09/2017
Author: Ecorys
The European Commission commissioned Ecorys to perform a study on the relation between online copyright infringement (digital piracy) and sales of copyrighted content.

Using an online survey, Ecorys asked close to 30 000 internet users in Europe about their legal consumption and illegal consumption of music, audio-visual material, books and games including live attendance. The survey covered 6 countries:

  • Germany
  • The United Kingdom
  • Spain
  • France
  • Poland
  • Sweden.

Results

In 2014, on average 51% of adults and 72% of minors in the EU illegally downloaded or streamed any form of creative content, with higher piracy rates in Poland and Spain than in the other 4 countries of this study.

It turns out that the displacement of legal by illegal consumption is difficult to estimate. However, the study successfully obtained robust results for the displacement of recent top films. The study found a displacement rate of 40% - meaning that for every 10 recent top films watched illegally, 4 fewer films are consumed legally.

People do not watch many recent top films for a second time, but if it happens, displacement is lower: 2 legal consumptions are displaced by every 10 illegal second views. This suggests that the displacement rate for older films is lower than the 40% for recent top films.

The study also analysed consumers’ ‘willingness to pay’ for illegally accessed creative content in order to assess whether piracy might be related to price levels. Overall, the analysis indicates that the current prices of films and TV series are above the amounts that 80% of illegal downloaders and streamers are willing to pay. The prices of books, music and games broadly coincide with what illegal downloaders and streamers are willing to pay.