Here's How Many People Really Use Sketchy Streaming Sites -- And Why

There’s very little data about how many people use sketchy online streaming sites, but we know quite a few people who do.

These sites, which can be found with a simple online search, offer links to free, albeit typically low-quality and spammy, videos of countless shows and live TV. They are actually legal if they follow certain rules, and they can legally be used under the right circumstances — though that could change as digital law evolves. Read more on how they work here »

To get more information about who uses unlicensed streaming sites and what people think of them, Business Insider partnered with Survey Monkey to survey 549 people from a diverse pool of online respondents. The most important findings are presented below:

First of all, 14% of respondents admitted to streaming unlicensed content. Given that respondents may have been reluctant to admit to activity they feared was illegal, the actual number could be higher.

Among people who admitted to streaming unlicensed content, the majority cited the unavailability of content on a licensed site as the primary reason why they did it.

Also, almost 39% focused on TV series, as shown in the chart below. For example, TorrentFreak recently discovered that “Game of Thrones” season 4, episode 2 was the most downloaded show ever. Open-ended survey responses also showed people streamed Game of Thrones with some regularity.

Among people who admitted to streaming unlicensed content, 20% did it for the first time in the past 12 months; 42% have been doing it for more than three years.

Among people who said they don’t stream unlicensed content, the largest group — 32% — said the primary reason why they don’t is because they think it’s illegal; 24% cited fear of viruses; 23% said it’s because they don’t know how.

Should unlicensed streaming sites be illegal? 25% strongly agreed, 9% strongly disagreed, and everyone else was uncertain or uninterested.

Aside from unlicensed online streaming, about 61% of respondents said they streamed licensed content. Netflix was the most used service for nearly 60% of these respondents.

Although all of these licensed sites are legal, some are using them in ways that violate the user agreement. For example, 13% admitted to sharing their passwords to paid services.

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