Fragmented streaming market could lead to more illegal downloads

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New research from Broadband Genie has revealed that the number of streaming TV viewers using illegal sources to watch movies and shows could double as consumers become increasingly frustrated with the growing number of subscription services.

The firm surveyed UK streaming users to find that almost a fifth (18%) admitted to accessing TV shows and movies using unauthorized streaming or file sharing sites. However, that number could increase to 37 percent if the market continues to fragment into different services.

The streaming video market has become highly competitive as new players such as Apple and Disney prepare to release their own streaming services this November. Netflix remains the most popular streaming service for the time being but its subscriber count could take a big hit as it loses popular shows and movies to its rivals.

If consumers wish to continue watching their favorite content as well as the latest hits, they face having to sign up for a growing number of subscription services. However, Broadband Genie's survey found that over two thirds (67%) of consumers already fell like they're paying too much.

Streaming services

The survey found that most people currently pay up to £15 a month for streaming services but they would rather prefer to spend a maximum of £10.

Respondents said that the biggest issue with streaming is cost but they also expressed frustration with finding where to watch particular shows or movies and with the need to use different apps.

One possible solution for cutting streaming costs is to illegally access content and the majority (60%) of respondents considering this option said they would invest the money they saved into a VPN subscription. A VPN would allow them to hide their identity and watch content from different regions usually at a monthly price cheaper than most streaming services.

Ernesto van der Sar from TorrentFreak explained why consumers are turning to piracy when it comes to streaming, saying:

“As more legal services have exclusive releases, it’s harder for people to get everything they want from one place. Instead of signing up for paid subscriptions at a handful of services, which may go beyond one's budget, some then turn back to piracy. These people still pay for legal services, but they use pirate services to watch movies and TV-shows that are otherwise only available at services they don't have access to.”

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.