Illegal UK downloads of films and TV via the Internet have tripled over the past year, the British Video Association (BVA) estimates. This apparently cost the UK video business £45m in DVD sales alone during 2003. 1.67m miscreants indulged in the practice last year, compared to 570,000 in 2002.
The typical offender - identified as the result of a survey of 16,000 12 to 74-year-olds - is reported as "under 35 years old and male" and "most likely to live in the south of England, where broadband is more widely available, and to download an average of 30 films or TV episodes per year".
The BVA's Lavinia Carey described the threat to the video industry as "clearly enormous". However, survey company TNS noted: "There are several factors that reduce the impact on the retail market - quality issues being the major one."
As if to prove the point that quality will out in the end, the BVA said that DVD sales had increased by 61 per cent during 2003, and that video industry sales as a whole reached £2.42bn last year from £2.05bn in 2002. ®