Millennials Who Stream Consider Video Piracy, Ad Blockers the Norm, Study Says

by Cate Lecuyer  |  09.21.2016

It’s no secret that more than half of millennials—54 percent to be exact—stream television content rather than watching live. But they also pirate shows, share video subscription passwords and use ad blockers on a regular basis. And most don’t think it’s wrong.

This is according to creative agency Anatomy Media’s new study, that surveyed 2,700 Americans ages 18-24.

To boil it down:

- 69 percent use some form of video piracy on a regular basis;

- 63 percent use an ad blocker on at least one device;

- 61 percent share a password to a video subscription service with family or friends.

The results should be sobering for TV networks and studios that don’t use an ad-block wall, and are potentially losing millions thanks to this behavior, researchers imply.

“Think about the Olympics on NBC,” Anatomy CEO and co-founder Gabriella Mirabelli told The Wrap. “We kept testing to see if they had an ad blocking wall, and nope. You could watch all their stuff and never see an ad. That’s where two-thirds of their missing millennials went.”

The agency tested streaming sites for 17 networks, and found that most major broadcasters including Fox, ABC, NBC, as well as cable sites such as Spike, A&E and Lifetime all allowed viewers to watch content with an ad-blocker activated.

Only CBS asked users to turn their ad blockers off in order to see the videos.

“You know who has ad block walls? Some of these streaming piracy sites,” Mirabelli said. “So they’re profiting doubly at the expense of the network, in some cases.”

Research also revealed that 67 percent of millennials believe that streaming unauthorized content is legal, leading the company to coin a new term combining streaming and criminals: ‘striminals.’ The data also suggests a direct link between the use of ad-blockers and online piracy.

Anatomy’s recommendation to TV networks?

First, put up ad-blocker walls. Then, improve the viewer experience by making sure viewer ads are restrained, targeted and relevant. In other words, something people won’t hate watching.

If you’re going to force people to turn off their ad blocker,” Mirabelli said, “you damn well better make sure their ad experience is just as premium as the video.”


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