The number of Dutch people using free downloading for digital content such as video and music declned to around 27% in January, down from 41% in November 2013, according to the latest Telecompaper Consumer Panel study.
The popularity of free downloading for content has fallen sharply in the last few years, as more streaming alternatives become available, as people get better access to pay services and amid a sharpening fight against illegal downloads.
Free downloads have gone down in popularity amid the rise of video streaming services such as Netflix, Videoland, Pathe Thuis and Amazon, as well as of music services like Spotify, Apple Music, Soundcloud and Pandora. Dutch anti-piracy group Brein is also pushing harder against illegal downloads touching author rights and protected content.
In November 2013, when services such as Netflix and Spotify were still new, 41% of Dutch people were downloading illegal content. In January, that percentage fell to 27%. From this group, 77% say they plan to download less pirated content; the remaining 23% claim they will increase illegal usage.
Of the group that still downloads, 8% say they have reduced their activities because it is becoming harder to find what they are looking for. Of the people who have increased their pirate activities, 6% said in January that it was easier to find what they were looking for, compared to 13% in 2013.
Despite declining popularity, P2P remains the most used way to download free content: 8% of respondents say they have downloaded material in this way. Downloading via news groups was used by 6% while FTP was used by only 2%.