There’s more evidence that this Millennial generation is really different than Boomers. Taking a look at two studies, one done by YouGuv commissioned by Irdeto and the other by Anatomy Media,  shows than more than half of millennials watch content illegally.

The survey also asked  if they felt any guilt or remorse for watching pirated video.  The survey told participants that pirated video content can result in studios losing money, meaning they cannot invest in creating content, 39% of consumers said that this knowledge has no effect on the amount of pirated video content they want to watch.

The Irdeto study was of 1,190 people 18+.  The Anatomy Media study was 2,700 people age 18-24.  Comparing the two points out some key differences.  For those 18+, 74% knew that pirating video was illegal.  For those 18-24, only 32% knew.

About a third of 18+ said they had watched pirated video.  For Millennials, the number was 69%.


“The negative impact that piracy has on the content creation industry extends much further than lost revenue,” said Lawrence Low, Vice President of Business Development/Sales at Irdeto. “Piracy deters content creators from investing in new content, impacting the creative process and providing consumers with less choice. It is becoming increasingly important for operators and movie studios to educate consumers on the tactics employed by pirates and to further promote innovative offerings that allow consumers to legally acquire content.”

Millennials have grown up in a generation where they have access to content – either legally or illegally – all the time.  If they can’t get it directly from the source, or if there’s a barrier like a paywall or a payment, they find ways around it.  Digitally-native, they and their peers don’t seem concerned that they are watching something illegally.  Many feel they have a right to watch the content regardless.  Others feel that since it’s “there” and they can access it, it’s OK.

Some of that comes from the “sharing” economy built by social media.  Whether you own the rights to something or not, it’s not only OK – but encouraged – to share the material with others.  But there’s a big difference between sharing a link or thumbnail and outright pirating the material for your own use.

I saw this working in newsrooms as the next generation of journalists came out of college.  Despite classes on copyright and ethics, an awful lot of them still thought it was OK to grab a picture off of Google images or a video off of YouTube and use it in their stories – whether they had the legal right to do so or not.  Even after I explained the legalities, I’m wasn’t 100% sure they understood the underlying logic.

In regards to the most popular pirated content, the survey found an even split between consumers who prefer to pirate movies and TV shows. 24% of consumers who watch pirated content are most interested in watching TV series. An additional 24% of respondents are most interested in pirated movies that are currently showing in theaters. The survey also found that consumers are interested in pirating DVD and Blu-ray movies (18%), live sports (10%) and OTT original content from Netflix, Hulu, iTunes and others (9%).