As younger generations continue to choose mobile devices over traditional mediums, we look at changing media consumption habits and discuss if this will affect piracy.
Gone are the days where children would get frightened by the boogeyman and monsters under the bed, today it only requires telling them about how the world was before cellphones. Whether we like it or not, it's a fact that in today’s connected world many find it impossible to even imagine living without mobiles or the Internet. People have grown used to being able to access anything whenever they want to and although this has opened the doors for people to access information on a level never experienced before, many agree it has also made us dependant on and addicted to media consumption.
The evolution of the Internet and cellphones has undergone an especially large boom in recent years. Recent studies show that today almost 40% of the world’s population has an internet connection, ten times more than in 1999. As for smartphones, it is estimated that this year over a third of the world’s population will own at least one. This is especially important, considering that until a few years ago owning a smartphone was something relatively uncommon and that it was not until the mid 2000s that they started to gain popularity worldwide.
Without a doubt, Internet and mobile technology have changed the way we live. They have provided us a world without borders, unlimited access to information and the power of instant connection. However, nothing is perfect and despite all the good things that have come with mobile technologies, many have opted to use them in a negative and self-serving way. The growing demand for online content from younger generations, as well as the fact that more people have turned to mobile devices over traditional media in recent years, has also changed the way pirates share illegal content.
In addition to this, the progressive changes of these technologies have also caused more and more people to prefer their mobile phones over their computers, so online piracy has also undergone an evolution and adapted to these devices. A few years ago it was common for people to use to torrent sites to download pirated content; however, now with the continuous improvement of mobile devices and services, streaming has become the first choice for online media consumption. Habits have changed so much that research conducted this year on millennial men by Videology suggests that 75% of those surveyed would rather give up cable TV than streaming. The same study points out that 21% of these men plan to buy a smartphone this year, with 27% of them stating that they are upgrading for faster streaming speed.
With more people consuming media on their phones, a question is raised on whether this is actually increasing piracy. Now that streaming services like Netflix are available for everyone and people have adapted well to this form of online media consumption, pirates are taking advantage of this and keep profiting. If in addition to the demand we add the attitude that young people have shown towards piracy- their innate knowledge on social media and their willingness to share information online have made streaming content, whether it's illegal or not, a common practice among them- , it's safe to think that this could only make the problem worse.