Europe: a continent of pirates

Europeans really don't want to pay for online content, finds study
Europeans really don't want to pay for online content, finds study

Europe is now the world leader in broadband internet, according to the European Commission's Digital Competitiveness report, published today.

It's also a leader in piracy, with only five per cent of Europeans saying that they have paid for music or movies online in the past three months (rising to ten per cent among tech-happy teens).

Of those who didn't pay for content, nearly half said that nothing could persuade them to pay for online music and movies.

Euros won't pay to file share

Around a third said that lower prices compared to offline content might loosen their purse-strings. More choice and better quality would tempt 20 per cent of people to cough up for media, but the right to share their purchases legally isn't much of a draw - just 16 per cent of users would pay for the privilege.

Unsurprisingly, people aged 16 to 24 are the most active internet users overall, with nearly three quarters regularly creating and share online content, twice the EU population average. Two thirds of all Europeans under 24 use the internet every day, compared to the EU average of 43 per cent.

The report found that the percentage of internet users with a high-speed broadband connection has more than doubled since 2004, to 80 per cent. However, one in three Euros has still never composed an email, visited a web page or Tweeted.

Viviane Reding, EU Commissioner for Information Society and Media said, "We should seize the opportunity of a new generation of Europeans who will soon be calling the shots in the European market place. These young people are intensive internet users and are also highly demanding consumers. To release the economic potential of these 'digital natives', we must make access to digital content an easy and fair game."

Mark Harris is Senior Research Director at Gartner.