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Industry / Market - Sweden/Denmark/Finland/Norway

Industry Report: Distribution, Exhibition and Streaming

Piracy is on the rise in all Nordic countries, according to Mediavision


The illicit activity is most prevalent in Sweden, at 25% among users aged 15-74, but Denmark, Finland and Norway are catching up at an alarming rate

Piracy is on the rise in all Nordic countries, according to Mediavision
Jaana Pihkala, of Finland’s Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre (© Lauri Kaira)

According to research published by Mediavision last month, 17% of all viewers aged 15-74 years old in the Nordic countries have illegally streamed or downloaded films or TV episodes in the past month. However, the figures vary significantly between the four countries targeted by the study – Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland. In detail, piracy is highest in Sweden, at 25%, followed by Norway (22%), Denmark (20%) and Finland (17%). In total, there are approximately 3.4 million pirates in the Nordics, which represents roughly 500,000 more than last year.

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The increase is mostly driven by young demographics (viewers aged 15-24), which account for 51% of the pirates in Norway (as against 38% in 2022), 46% in Finland and Denmark (27% and 29% in 2022, respectively), and 53% in Sweden (45% in 2022).

Moreover, the study finds that approximately 1.15 million households subscribed to illegal IPTV in the Nordics. Sweden accounts for more than 40% of these households (490,000), followed by Norway (255,000), Denmark (220,000) and Finland (190,000).

The research also includes some more detailed insights into Finnish piracy. In the country, approximately 190,000 households use illegal IPTV. Interestingly, the average monthly spend on illegal IPTV is €22 per month, which is almost as much as the spend in households with traditional pay TV (€25 per month). However, it is worth mentioning that illegal IPTV is more likely to carry a wider range of channels and premium content than traditional pay-TV packages.

Furthermore, access to streaming services is the main driver to purchase (37%), followed by access to live sports. In addition, approximately 40% of all illegally obtained films and TV episodes are Finnish, which is about the same proportion as for global titles, whilst 19% of the works are from other Nordic countries. Finally, there are approximately 725,000 people aged from 15-74 in Finland that admit to having downloaded or streamed films and/or TV episodes illegally in the past month.

The research data was collected anonymously through online interviews held in March, with 1,400 Danish, 1,200 Finnish, 1,000 Swedish and 1,100 Norwegian respondents taking part in the study, all of them aged from 15-74. Moreover, monthly reach in Sweden was measured over a full year, except July, with 12,000 online interviews per year (roughly 1,000-1,500 per month).

The survey covers downloading and illegal streaming (and in particular the act of downloading – not actual viewing/consumption of illegally downloaded content). Only primary downloads from the internet were included, whilst distribution of already downloaded content (eg, files saved to a USB memory stick, or on CDs or DVDs) was not taken into account.

Speaking about the reasons why the growth of piracy is spearheaded by users aged from 15-24, Mediavision senior analyst Natalia Borelius told Cineuropa: “Piracy has always been highest among the young, and I think there are a number of reasons for that. They are more digitally fluent, and have a tighter budget and perhaps another view on breaking the rules – in general, and particularly when it comes to piracy. As for the reactions from streamers, we’ve seen nothing new yet, if you don’t include password sharing, which I think will possibly push up piracy even further.”

We also reached out to Jaana Pihkala, of Finland’s Copyright Information and Anti-Piracy Centre, for a comment, and she admitted that the real reasons behind this soaring trend in the country are yet to be identified: “It’s worrying to see such a sharp increase in piracy, although piracy in Finland remains the lowest in the Nordics. Quite honestly, we don’t know the reason behind it. Some other studies, such as the EUIPO IP Youth Scoreboard, suggest that the indifference of youngsters towards intellectual property is growing.

“This means there are more and more youngsters who don’t care if the content source is illegal or if the product they are buying is a counterfeit. This is very alarming. An indifferent attitude combined with easily accessible pirate services leads to a growing piracy problem. All stakeholders, legal intermediary services included, should be involved to tackle this problem.”

You can access the full data set here.

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