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One-third of US, UK consumers copy pre-recorded DVDs

A Macrovision-sponsored online survey of US and British consumers carried out in May 2008 by Futuresource reveals that around one third of all respondents in both countries admit to making copies of pre-recorded DVDs in the last six months, up from just over a quarter of respondents in 2007.

As in 2007 it is 18-24 year old males who are most likely to be copiers. UK respondents showed a significant increase in copying TV shows on DVD when compared with 2007.

Copiers of DVDs are using both analogue and digital copying methods, with the two being of almost equal importance. In both territories, the most common way of copying is either from a DVD player to a DVD recorder, or using a single PC software application for burning DVD copies.

In the last six months, DVD copiers have copied an average of 12 titles of all genres in the USA and 13 titles of all genres in the UK. It is the 25-34 age group that copy the most titles in both, not surprisingly new release movie titles are being copied more than library titles.

In the last six months, the average number of movies copied in the UK was 13 new release and 9 catalogue; in the USA, the figures were 7 and 6 respectively. Although the majority of people are copying from their own purchased DVD in both the UK and USA, a significant proportion of people are copying from rented and borrowed titles.

Respondents were then asked almost the most important question in the survey… if you had not been able to copy would you have purchased? If they had not been able to make copies of DVDs, 63% of respondents in the UK and 77% in the USA would have purchased all, some or at least a few of the titles, “clearly indicating the scale of the lost revenues to the home video industry from home copying,” says the analysts. The majority of UK and USA respondents would most likely buy these movie titles new at sale or promotional price.

Someone commented that, given the importance of the question the analysis should have called for a more specific breakdown in the purchasing intentions of those serial copiers. Whether a DVD user builds his entire library from illegal copies or only tops up his legitimate collection with the odd titles has drastically different “cannibalizing” implications.

Amongst the dark clouds of illegal copying, there is a silver lining of sorts: from a list of 40 recent blockbuster movie titles supplied to respondents, “only” 57% of all DVD copiers in the USA and 34% in the UK had successfully made copies of the titles on the list.

The survey involved a sample of 3,613 respondents in the USA and 1,718 in the UK. The sample size was increased significantly in 2008.

Story filed 10.07.08

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