Choice Says Netflix Is Killing Piracy In Australia In Problematic Survey

The launch of Netflix in Australia really is killing piracy. At least that's according to a new survey. There's a bit of a problem with that survey though, and it's one that keeps popping up when we try to chart piracy.

Aussie consumer group, Choice, has run another survey to find out how many people illegally download TV shows and movies. The headline finding is that fewer people are downloading TV shows every month (17 per cent of "regular pirates" down from 23 per cent last year), fewer people are saying they "never stream pirated movies or TV shows" (up to 70 per cent from 67 per cent last year), and more people have paid up accounts to services like Netflix, Stan and Presto.

In fact, a third of those people who have subscribed to these online video services are reporting that they're "downloading much less often since subscribing to streaming services".

Good for you.

It's proof that decent pricing and content availability in the local market are deterrents to piracy. You can read more findings here.

The survey isn't without issue, however.

Here's your first problem when trying to measure levels piracy by asking people about it. Everybody lies. Especially when you ask them about things they probably shouldn't have been doing in the first place.

No matter how you phrase a question about content piracy, you're going to immediately corrupt your survey base thanks to the fear that comes from being asked to be honest about your illegal activity.

That paranoia escalates tenfold when you realise that the people you're asking are most likely engaged content consumers, and are aware of both the upcoming Government crackdown on piracy, as well as the recent case involving the studio behind Dallas Buyers Club. Both of these issues weren't happening in 2014 when the first study was conducted, so people were likely to be more honest about their brazen content theft. These days, the game has changed. Everyone needs a VPN and a secure way to get their weekly Game Of Thrones fix. Nobody wants to get a letter in the mail demanding money for pirating a movie, so nobody is going to fess up willingly to piracy in 2015. Of course, if people lie through their teeth and say they aren't pirating, your figures are going to be skewed.

There's no accurate way to measure how many people are pirating a piece of content. Even with trackers inside torrent swarms, you'll still wind up with a whole bunch of false positives while letting actual pirates through the net thanks to their ability to cover their tracks.

I'm all for big streaming services like Netflix coming to Australia to increase access to content at a price the market can bear, but let's not kid ourselves: you can never accurately measure the rates of piracy.

Image: Shutterstock

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    I wouldn't have an issue answering questions about my downloading habits in an anonymous survey like those that Choice run.

    Sure it's not without flaws, but don't you reckon that the respondents would have been just as likely to lie in the 2014 survey to which the results were compared?

      Not necessarily. I think that Windows 10/recent Australian government legislation and media coverage/social spread of info has informed a lot of people's paranoia. My question is: What do choice get out of gathering data that anyone who knows the term 'self-report' understands is flawed?

    I don't get it. Companies charge extra because of piracy. So what's their beef? They want to just charge extra and not have piracy? That's like having your cake and eating it too.

    If I know I can watch shows hours after they air in the states on Stan, Presto and Foxtel Play I will use those services to watch. In fact, I have a foxtel play subscription just so I can watch fear of the walking dead. I also have Netflix and because of using all those services I don't pirate anything any more. I haven't really pirated anything in years as Netflix has given me more than enough to watch before they launched here.

    I bet the person who took that stock photo is stunned that someone has actually used it.

      Funnily enough theres a whole page on that subject at shutterstock -

        Better than the NRMA in dubbo, that has shutterstock images used all over it's front window, all still with the shutterstock watermark embedded in them...

    The launch of Netflix in Australia really is killing piracy. At least that’s according to a new survey.

    Not to be rude but no survey was needed to confirm that fact.

    Solution to piracy:
    1. Better price,
    2. Wide variety,
    3. Great availability.

    Netflix has all three in good doses.

    let’s not kid ourselves: you can never accurately measure the rates of piracy.

    True that. Especially the trend where dark nets are used or even just simple VPNs.

    Last edited 04/09/15 1:31 pm

      As opposed to foxtel who's tactics were encouraging piracy

        Not just Foxtel. The majority of the problem is local rights holders here who secure the broadcast rights and then Foxtel (if the content is outside 21st Century Fox's library) and others have to seek rights for said holders.

        Needless to say, this right holders think they are the be all and end all thus can be greedy.

        Besides them, even our own FTA networks encouraged piracy. Besides broadcasting using older codecs thus resulting in poor image quality and the disappearance of the 5.1 surround that was promised back in the early 00's when the introduction of digital TV, some channels (can't remember if it was 9 or 7) even tried to petition the Coalition to not let Netflix set up shop here claiming it would harm their chances at getting movie broadcast rights in the future.

        Overall, it's the environment in general that has walled itself into a ivory tower and (in my view) only a Game Crash of '83 style collapse will rectify the matter.

          Needless to say, this right holders think they are the be all and end all thus can be greedy

          sounds like anyone who ever invested in anything.

    Elephant in room goes unmentioned... Without a geo-blocking workaround (such as Getflix), many Australians wouldn't bother paying for Netflix. The regional limitations of the Australian Netflix are quite boring and not worth the price. Opening up US content choices is the only reason I keep the monthly subscription alive. If you take away all the mediocre Aussie TV dramas and shows on the Aussie Netflix, what remains is slim pickings. Kind of like the neglected weekly section of your local video store.

      True that, US netflix is infinitely better. It has many of the TV shows owned by Foxtel/Presto (albeit a season behind the current) as well as a great selection of movies, anime and US comedy.

      Last edited 04/09/15 2:48 pm

      Even though I use a DNS service, I mostly use the Aussie service, which serves my needs just fine. Most of the US content I like I've seen anyway, using the Aus service has shown me some lesser-known gems I never would have seen otherwise.

    I'm downloading way more, Can't stream shit since netflix came into the country so DL it is.

      This ^. Exchange Congestion has become a nightmare since Netflix Australia became available to the masses. So while Netflix may indeed be responsible for a drop in pirating, Netflix's own popularity (and Australia's crap internet) may also be responsible users having to resort to other means to watch content at a reasonable un-stuttering resolution.

    This is good, but u if u wanna watch something that's not on Australia yet, u have that torrent client handy just in case. Content availability will always be number #1 regardless of how many streaming services there are. And since Australia is low on the content compared to U.S, more users will always prefer U.S Netflilx catalog over something like Stan, or use iTunes with U.S credit in the which beats the pants of both with first run movies... For example, i have not seen anywhere u can "stream" Real Humans.. for this times u'r gonna get out you torrent client, why would u wait?

    Last edited 05/09/15 10:59 am

    Our Amnet connection is so bad we can't even stream Youtube in HD. I want Ruddy Rudd NBN please.

    Change ISP... pretty simple. Most exchanges have multiple vendors. iiNet/Internode have been working fine... I stream from the couch every day with Zero issues. There is nothing wrong with last mile it's always been an exchange and contention issue (for most people) which is why people pay for iiNet and Internode. Apparently TPG is also quite good now (and they own the other two) I have changed my habits greatly. The content on Netflix is great and they are trying to remove geoblocking in their negotiations. If people support them we may actually have them removed for Australia really soon. It's the Middle men that are kicking up a stink. The people who create nothing but a mark-up. They know their industry is finished but they will fight with who ever they can to keep it alive.

    I've been a critic of Foxtel's business model and practices for a long time, as such I pay for Netflix out of the principle of supporting this type of service in Australia, even though my internet suffers severe peak-time congestion and I can rarely use Netflix.

    My pirating has definitely gone down massively now, and it even opened my mind to streaming music services; I am now trialing Google Play and loving it.
    But there are always shows not available because of all the BS exclusivity deals companies make. It's like they expect me to have a Netflix, Presto, Stan AND Foxtel subscription; sorry I will go with the best overall single service, and pirate the rest.
    Game of Thrones, Walking Dead, even the old Star Wars movies, I have pirated recently.

      I hope they were The Despecialised Editions of the original trilogy.

    fewer people are saying they “never stream pirated movies or TV shows” (up to 70 per cent from 67 per cent last year)

    Are they surveying 1 year olds now? how does 3% of people pirate last year , but never pirated this year?

    That discrepancy shows the variation in the results from last year

    Last edited 07/09/15 12:25 pm

    still have crap internet, still cant stream anything without constant buffering. Piracy it is. Thanks for killing any dream i had of NBN and being able to stream libs!

    These surveys mean nothing. Whats their pool size... who is most likely to respond? the pirate?... the guy who is now being compliant? The one who has never pirated. All the surveys are muddled and extrapolated to make the answer fit the expectations of the outcome. Which is why the original survey saying 'Australians are the worst pirates' is a loaded question and answer. Who did they ask.. where did they ask it... I know no one surveyed me... how many out there have ever been surveyed about their downloading habits... anyone..
    Its a matter of convenience that the government can use the pirating excuse to draft laws to spy on people. That they can use 'surveys' to justify and placate big business is deplorable and they should be ashamed. Can you really believe we are the worst piraters... not any Asian country... not any Eastern European country? Maybe finally Netflix is forcing the hand and making better service obtainable. But no one will convince me pirating is a rampant as any survey might indicate

    It has nothing to do with Netflix or any streaming service.
    Pirating is dying all thanks to Village Roadshow and wise prostiticians.
    All former pirates are so scared now and each of them is buying legit crap constantly.

    Had to pay back Murdoch for his useful headlines didnt they

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