Gen Z’s attitudes to unauthorised movie content



We have recently worked with Into Film and The Industry Trust to explore content infringement by kids aged 7-11 and their families.  We were privileged to be invited to present a summary of our findings at The Industry Trust’s Executive Infringement session.

The event took place at Warner House in Holborn and saw us presenting to an audience of film, TV and sports executives seeking to understand the state of play of infringement and how to address and reduce it. The discussion focused on the exponential rise of Illicit Streaming Devices (ISDs) as a way to infringe. These are physical devices connected primarily to TVs e.g. ‘cracked’ Amazon Firesticks and KODI boxes with specific KODI software.

Ros Lynch from the government’s Intellectual Property Office (IPO) kicked off proceedings talking about the government’s focus on educational programmes to raise awareness of unauthorised content sources and the potential impact on the content creators. Marianne Grant from the Motion Picture Association and Liz Bales, CEO of the Industry Trust corroborated the need for a range of educational messages to combat the varied motivations and drivers for content infringement by different audiences.

Piracy has become a normalised, accepted way to watch content for many. We uncovered:

  • For the kids themselves, there is often a total lack of awareness of the content being illegal as the interface looks very similar to paid for platforms and it is introduced to the house by their parent, a trusted adult who often acts as the gatekeeper to unauthorised content
  • Poor quality is an issue for kids, but only because it undermines the experience, however, the desire for the latest film or other content often overrides the lesser viewing experience
  • Many families have an array of SVOD services as well as ISDs to meet their home viewing needs. They often justify their usage of ISDs through spend on the additional legal services. These ‘service mixers’ put up with lesser quality if they just can’t wait for a particular film or show
  • Those who reject content infringement mainly cite either moral or quality issues and feel satisfied by the range of authorised content on offer
  • What is common amongst most ISD users is that the lack of visible consequences to this activity means that neither the kids nor their parents currently give much thought to its impact. It’s mainly felt to be akin to a petty crime such as littering. Families think more about the benefits of ISDs offering family bonding opportunities at home.

In the absence of any legal repercussions for users, a continued programme of messages about the personal and industry impact of infringement unauthorised viewing, plus the benefits of authorised using legitimate services viewing is essential. Our research has helped inform the development of strategies to communicate with audiences of the future.