Two in five here stream pirated entertainment: survey
Despite the increasing availability of legal entertainment content online, two in five Singapore residents still actively access pirated content, a study released yesterday shows.
In the study, commissioned by the Cable and Satellite Broadcasting Association of Asia (Casbaa), research firm Sycamore surveyed 1,000 residents aged 18 to 64, and a further 300 users of illicit streaming devices (ISDs) in April.
It found that ISDs, commonly known as Android boxes or media boxes, are used by 14 per cent of the population.
Sycamore's research director Anna Meadows said piracy in Singapore is easy, socially acceptable and comes with little perceived risk.
"It isn't something frowned upon," she said. "You can easily get an ISD from Sim Lim Square where it is sold openly."
Under the Broadcasting Act, buyers and sellers of illegal devices can be fined up to $40,000 and jailed up to three years.
Over 60 per cent of those accessing pirated content said they do so because it is free (see graphics above). About a third of respondents felt it was legal to stream content they cannot find on legal channels such as Singtel or StarHub. Another third were unsure and the rest said it was illegal.
Last year, Singapore was ninth in the world for online piracy, according to a study by technology company Muso. But the study excluded China, Taiwan and North and South Korea due to insufficient data.
Legal video subscription services such as Netflix, Hooq and CatchPlay were launched here last year but have not made a dent on piracy.
Casbaa's chief policy officer, Mr John Medeiros, called for more "energetic enforcement actions" by the authorities.
This was echoed by industry players such as Singtel, StarHub and Golden Village, with Singtel's home and consumer managing director Goh Seow Eng calling piracy a worrying trend.
Ms Meadows said the authorities must take measures such as blocking certain sites."Studies show there is an uptake in paid services once people can't get the illegal services," she said.