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New Survey Says Millennials Pay For Streaming Services And Use Pirate Streams When Content Isn't Legally Available

1In a further sign of change coming to the music industry, a new survey has revealed that millennials, and those younger, while willing and happy to pay for streaming services, are also more than happy to access the content they want on pirate streaming sites should it be unavailable elsewhere.

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Guest post by Timothy Geigner on Techdirt

For any of the entrenched entertainment players seated comfortably in their lofty offices, quite used to counting stacks of money and calling it a profession, they likely already know this fearful mantra: the millennials are coming. Millennials, and even more so the generations younger than them, are driving changes in the entertainment industry. These younger consumers are largely responsible for the cord-cutting trend winding its way through the cable industry, not to mention being the force behind ever-expanding streaming options for everything from movies to television shows and live sports. These are the customers of the future. Customers that will outlive a public that became used to having bloated cable television packages filled with channels and content fit to be ignored.

And those customers are both great customers for streaming services and they are customers perfectly happy to get the streaming they want if legitimate methods for it aren't available. A recent survey conducted specifically with millennials finds that more than half of them regularly use pirate streaming sites to watch movies or shows, but would prefer to use legitimate streaming sites had they been available.

This is one of the main conclusions of a new survey conducted by Launchleap. The data come from a survey among millennials between 18 and 35, and zooms in on pirate streaming preferences in this age group. The results show that more than half of the respondents, a whopping 53%, admit to having used illegal services to stream movies or TV-shows over the past month. Legal streaming services remain on top with 70%, but interest in more traditional platforms such as TV, DVDs or Blu-Ray is clearly lagging behind. The respondents don’t appear to be particularly bothered by their habit. Only 7% of the people questioned say they feel guilty when they watch a pirated movie, the remaining 93% experience no guilt.

2You can disagree with the moral calculation of these young people all you like, but the numbers here are both stark and illuminating. If nothing else, this survey should signal to the entertainment industry that however many days are left of customers being willing to live in walled off gardens where content is enjoyed only in the manner approved by a cable company or movie studio, rather than being determined by consumer demand, that number of days is on a short timeline. It's also worth noting that the respondents that said they used pirate streaming sites also paid for content via subscriptions to Netflix and the like. The issue is that there is both a content war currently, with movies and shows available only on one streaming site at a time, as well as the long-entrenched protectionism that has kept some content off of any streaming site at all. The attitude of these respondents seems pretty clear by the numbers: hey, we tried to pay for the content, but you wouldn't let us, so we went and got it from a place that had it.

Money is still a factor in the survey, of course. After all, consumers could get most of the content they demand legitimately by subscribing to, say, three or four different streaming sites at once and switching between them. But that doesn't change the fact that television and movie studios are going to have to contend with the reality that the public doesn't want to, or can't afford to, do that. The question then becomes whether these exclusive streaming deals and content protection continue to be good business, given that these younger customers are finding illegitimate ways around them anyway.

The millennials are coming. And they don't think about entertainment content in the same complacent way the last generation has.

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