29 January 2009

More Evidence that File Downloaders Buy *More*

One of the central fallacies in the argument that sharing is bad for business is the idea that every file downloaded is a sale lost. In fact, there is growing evidence that the contrary is the case - that people who share stuff, buy *more* stuff. Here's some more:

The Institute for Information Law in the Netherlands reports that the average downloader buys more DVDs, music, and games than people who never download. Illegal downloaders represent 45 percent of consumers who purchase content legally, the institute recently reported.

The Institute estimates some 4.7 million Dutch Internet users 15 years and older downloaded hacked and pirated DVDs, games, and music in the last 12 months. This would imply a staggering 25 percent of the Dutch population (from the 2008 figure of 16.5 million) who view illegal downloading and sharing as socially acceptable, even as they're also legally acquiring content in parallel.

So that seems to say that 25 per cent of the Dutch population share stuff, but that they represent 45 per cent of the sales. In other words, they are buying quite a lot more than people who don't.

Perhaps one day the content industries will realise that they should be *encouraging* sharing, becuase it boost their sales: it's called marketing.

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