EY: Australia is second in the world when it comes to illegal downloads

Extras seen during filming for the fifth season of Game of Thrones in Osuna, Spain. Sergio Camacho/Getty Images

Australia is second in the world only to Russia when it comes to illegal downloads, mainly due to the delay in local release of overseas content, according to global research by EY.

David McGregor, of EY’s media and entertainment group, says Australia has a digitally engaged population with about eight million people are in the 18-39 age group.

“It’s no secret that Australians are avid downloaders – both legal and illegal,” he says.

“The real challenge lies in moving young, digitally savvy emerging market consumers to legitimate digital platforms. This remains a significant opportunity for media and entertainment companies.”

The spread of online piracy across the worldSource: EY

Australia has previously been put at the top of the list in the world for illegally downloading movies and television.

This, according to statistics gathered from download sites, tends to happen a lot when there’s a popular TV show released in the US and Australians have to wait, because of commercial licensing agreements, to see it locally.

When Game of Thrones season four was released, there was a flood of illegal downloads from Australia. The next series will be released at the same time in Australia as the rest of the world.

The EY report puts Australia at 11.48% of the world’s illegal downloads, behind Russia with 19.35%.

The latest download data comes from EY’s Global Digital Media Attractiveness Index (DMAI) which ranks countries against a scorecard based on potential earnings from digital media.

Australia is 8th globally for “digital attractiveness” due to low market costs and risks.

McGregor said there remain key barriers to digital growth relating to value and access costs.

While new infrastructure like the NBN will go a way towards addressing these issues, more work is needed to drive stronger and more favourable market conditions for consumers and business.

“To succeed in securing Australia’s status as a leading digital nation, we need to continue to improve cost, speed and access,” Mr McGregor said. “This clearly involves continued investment in infrastructure but also improved and dynamic competition to stimulate innovation.”

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