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Study: P2P Downloads Outpace Legal Sites 500%

19 Dec, 2006 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Spurred by the plethora of free adult-film content available on file-sharing Web sites, about 6 million Internet-enabled U.S. households downloaded video files for free, compared to 1.2 million who paid to download a file.

The results, released today by The NPD Group, a Port Washington, N.Y.-based media research firm, found that 60% of the content downloaded from P2P sites was adult-themed, compared to 20% TV shows and 5% mainstream movies.

In the third quarter, 1.2 million U.S. households paid for video downloads from an online service. Apple's iTunes store represented 90% of video sales, followed by Vongo with 5%, Movielink (3%) and CinemaNow (1%).

Of the downloads, TV fare represented 62% of sales, followed by music videos (24%) and movies (6%).

“While video P2P downloading is less pervasive right now than for music, it is a crucial issue for the film industry to keep track of,” said Russ Crupnick, VP and senior industry analyst for The NPD Group, “Even though the majority of downloaded video content is adult-film content, the amount of intellectual property stolen from mainstream movie studios, networks and record labels will continue to rise, unless strong and sustained action is taken to prevent piracy.”

Crupnick said ongoing marketing efforts by Apple and Microsoft (and its Zune MP3 player) would increase consumer awareness for download-to-own on a DVD but it “will be quite a long time before we see consumers completely abandon the DVD in favor digital downloads.”

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