Fri, 27 Dec 2019 - 08:13
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Media Release: Online piracy down as streaming services gain popularity

The number of Australians consuming pirated movies, television shows, music and video games is at its lowest level in five years, according to a new survey, with more people choosing to pay for content online than consume it unlawfully.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, welcomed the significant decrease in the consumption of pirated content and said it was in part due to the rising popularity of subscription entertainment services – such as Netflix, Spotify, Stan and Disney+ – and the rollout of ubiquitous high-speed broadband via the National Broadband Network.

The Online Copyright Infringement Survey 2019, commissioned by the Department of Communications and the Arts, found that 80 per cent of survey respondents download, stream or share online content (lawfully and unlawfully), up from 78 per cent in 2018. Streaming was the preferred method of consumption for music, movies and TV programs.

“As internet speeds increase and more Australians connect to the National Broadband Network, online entertainment is becoming a bigger part of people’s lives,” Minister Fletcher said.

In the survey, 2,463 Australians aged over 12 recorded their online usage across the categories of TV programs, movies, music, live sport, video games, e-books and PC software. 

The number of respondents who reported consuming infringing online content halved, from 32 per cent of respondents in 2018 to 16 per cent in 2019. At the same time, the number of people who reported only consuming content lawfully rose – from 68 per cent in 2018 to 84 per cent in 2019.

“It is pleasing to see Australians increasingly turn to legitimately-sourced content. It is widely accessible and reasonably priced, which supports the continued growth and success of our creative industries,” Minister Fletcher said.

The survey is available at:



The main increases in consumption of both lawful and unlawful content were in:

  • music – 59 per cent, up from 43 per cent in 2018
  • video games – 29 per cent, up from 20 per cent in 2018
  • movies – 52 per cent, up from 47 per cent in 2018

The main decreases in consumption levels of unlawful content were in:

  • music – 25 per cent accessing unlawful content, down from 32 per cent in 2018
  • video games – 20 per cent accessing unlawful content, down from 32 per cent in 2018
  • TV programs – 16 per cent accessing unlawful, down from 18 per cent in 2018

Consumption of TV programs, e-books (14 per cent in 2019 from 15 per cent in 2018) and computer software (24 per cent) remained relatively steady. Live sport was included for the first time and was consumed by 19 per cent of respondents.

The survey also found that 54 per cent of infringers were male.

Infringers were most likely to be aged between 25-34 (22 per cent), 35-44 (20 per cent), 16-24 and 45-54 (18 per cent each). Both the 12-15 age bracket and 55 years and older were 11 per cent each.

Now in its fifth year, the survey is conducted annually to report on online copyright infringement trends.