CentERdata studied jointly with IViR (Institute of Information Law, University of Amsterdam) the purchase of, the downloading or the streaming of music, movies, TV series and programs, games and books through online and offline channels. The results were presented at the Symposium on Copyright and Economics. The study was sponsored by the Ministry of Education, Culture and Science, Ziggo, XS4all, KPN, CAIW, Delta and KvB.
The study examines the development of file sharing over the past few years and compares the different types of content and distribution channels. Distinctions were made between: 1) the purchase of material by physical carriers in a store or web store, 2) paid downloading or streaming from a legitimate source, 3) unpaid downloading or streaming from a legitimate source and 4) downloading or streaming from an illegitimate source (file sharing).
For each type of content, the purchase of physical carriers is still the most popular among Dutch consumers, followed by downloading free legal content. Furthermore, it appears that downloading from illegitimate sources is becoming less popular: 27% of the population did this in 2012, while 25% had done so in 2008. This decrease is attributable to the steep decline in the illegal downloading of music, as there is an increase in the number of downloads of movies and series. Downloading games has remained stable but downloading books from an illegal source is on the rise. Downloading and purchasing go hand in hand: people who sometimes download from an illegal source also buy content from legal channels, and they visit concerts and cinemas more often. Only two-thirds of those who download from illegal sources are willing to pay for downloads if they were not available free of charge.