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September 17, 2015

Is Freemium the Answer to Content Theft?

Content theft has long been the bane of creators (and increasingly users whose computers get infected when they visit pirate sites, but more about that soon), but a new poll suggests that the rise of ad-supported music services may be helping.

According to the Zogby Analytics survey commissioned by CALinnovates, the growing availability of so-called “freemium” music is curbing Internet users’ impulse to pirate songs. Here’s where it gets interesting: it’s especially true among the 18-34 age group that are the most likely to be pirating music.

The Zogby survey, which polled over 500 users of ad-supported music apps and sites, found that 54 percent of 18-34 year-olds said freemium services has made them less likely to pirate songs and music. In the past few years both the motion picture and recording industry have made significant stride in ensuring that users can watch or listen to what they want when they want.

According to this survey, it appears those efforts are paying off.

According to the Zogby survey, 69 percent reported that their ability to find the music they want has increased as the number of places to get music has expanded beyond iTunes to include Pandora, Spotify and iHeartRadio.

On the movie and TV program side, the Motion Picture Association of America’s “Where to Watch” website points consumers to where they can legally and safely find their favorite shows and movies.

That’s the good news: the bad news is that content thieves are increasingly turning their attention to making money off the visitors to their sites. An upcoming study by the Digital Citizens Alliance(a group I manage) will dive deep into the correlation between content theft and malware. The results are worrisome. Stay tuned.

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