Brits need to sign up to 27 services to get all the best movie content

Douglas Crawford

Douglas Crawford

December 9, 2014

A couple of months or so ago we looked at a study carried out by research firm KPMG on behalf of NBC Universal. It found that while 98 percent of ‘most popular film titles (as measured by box office success) as well as critically acclaimed titles’ were available to watchers in the United States through some channel or other, only 16 percent are available through online streaming services such as Netflix, which are by far the most popular legal channels for obtaining content.

KPMG has now released another similar report (again commissioned by NBC Universal), focusing this time on the UK, and titled ‘UK Availability of Film and TV Titles in the Digital Age’. As with the US report, it’s finding, on the face of them, sound impressive,

As at December 2013, 86% of the756 unique films reviewed were available via online video on demand distribution on at least one of the 27 service offerings studied.

This figure jumps to 100 percent for 2012 UK box office hits, before dropping off a little for each year previous to that.

This report found that the vast majority of the most popular and critically acclaimed film and television content is available from legal digital platform.

This all sounds great, and appears to support the entertainment industry’s position that users have no justification for copyright piracy on grounds of lack of availability. As with the previous US focused report, however, the devil lies in the detail…

When the study considered ‘a breakdown of the availability of films (%) across at least five online services,’ the 2013 figure dropped to 63 percent, and to obtain all 756 films a user would need to sign up for 27 different services!

Furthermore, only 39 percent of these films were available on the ‘SVOD model’. SVOD stands for ‘Subscription Video On Demand’, and refers to ‘all you can eat’ steaming services such as Netflix – by far the most popular and cost-effective way to obtain film content legally.

Now, in fairness, this is considerably better than the measly 16 percent of films available to US subscription users, but it still means that 6 out 10 times UK Netflix and LoveFilm users will not find the movie they are looking for.

These figures also ignore that it is easy to illegally download a film at any quality desired (and at much higher quality than possible when streaming), that downloaders do not have to be online to watch downloaded content, or suffer buffering issues due to peak viewing hours, and that they do not have to wait for movies to become available due to greedy geo-licencing restrictions.

Apps such as Popcorn Time even make easy to get an instant illegal movie hit via streaming, and are in almost all ways superior to their legal rivals.

In short, whatever reports such as this one try to prove, the entertainment industry has fallen far behind the ‘pirates’ when it comes to delivering content people want, and in a flexible and convenient way…

Just remember, though, that if you do choose to P2P download, you should always protect yourself using a good VPN service!

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