Who refuses to pay for films online?

YouGov
September 24, 2020, 10:22 AM UTC

One in seven Brits still use torrents and free streaming services to watch films despite the authorities best efforts to crack down on such practices

It has never been easier to find the movie you want to watch online. Nevertheless, the results of new YouGov Profiles data reveal that paying to own or rent a film online without a subscription (12%) is still about as commonplace as using free (usually illegal) streaming/downloading/torrenting sites (14%).

In fact, DVDs are still a more common way of consuming movies (26%), while free TV channels such as ITV and Channel 4 (41%), going to the cinema on or after the release date (29%) and subscription services (28%) are the most popular.

People who stream and download for free are slightly more likely to be male (53% vs 49% of the wider population). They tend to be younger, with over two in five (42%) aged 18 to 34. And they’re more likely to in social grade C2DE (50% vs 46%).

In contrast, audiences who pay to own or stream films without subscribing to a service are slightly skewed to social grade ABC1 (57% vs 54% of all Brits). And they are more likely to be aged 35 to 54 (42% vs 34% of all Brits).

These two groups have little overlap. Over seven in ten people who normally pay to own or watch (73%) never use free download or streaming services, while a fifth (21%) do so at least once a month. Nearly four out five people who use free download and streaming services (76%) never pay to watch or download a movie, while a minority (17%) do it monthly or more. 

The two have different attitudes to money and entertainment in general. Consumers who pay to view or own films are more likely to say they enjoy watching TV with their family (76% vs 71% of non-paying film consumers) or spend money to support their favourite music artists (59% vs 51%). They are also more inclined to agree they have too many subscriptions in general (31% vs 24%) and are more open to paying for newspaper content online (17% vs 12%).

In contrast, people who watch films online for free are more likely to agree that there’s nothing wrong with downloading music without paying for it (44% vs 31%). They’re also more inclined to say streaming services shouldn’t care if they share their login details (49% vs 43%).

Find out more about YouGov Profiles