Over 36,000 adults download illegal movies or television every day in Ireland
Latest Core Media research sheds light on illegal downloading

Core Media, Ireland’s number one communications Group, has conducted research with Ignite Research, showing that despite attempts to stop the illegal accessing of content, 36,806 adults in Ireland continue to illegally download TV or movies daily. The research also shows that 1 in 5 of all adults in the country have downloaded some content illegally over the last 12 months.

The research, conducted across a thousand people also showed that 1 in 3 adults aged between 15 and 24 have downloaded movies or TV illegally in the last 12 months. However, this is not just confined to younger age groups as 1 in 4 adults aged 25 to 34 have also downloaded TV or movies illegally in the last year. Even adults over the age of 55+ are illegally downloading movies or TV, with 1 in 20 having done so in the last year.

The analysis also looked at how legal download services like Netflix are affecting consumer’s behaviour. Of those who had downloaded video content in the past 12 months, 31% said they are now downloading more material legally than 12 months ago. Nevertheless, 12% are still downloading more illegal material than before. With the remaining 59% claiming their behaviour had not changed. This is despite a Netflix Irish subscription base estimated at 175,000.

Nick Fletcher, Broadcast Director of Core Media commented; “This ground-breaking piece of research has identified a large cohort of Irish individuals who are still accessing broadcast content illegally, despite government attempts to stop this behaviour. 42% of people are doing so because they can’t get this content elsewhere or they want to see it before their friends. This highlights the importance for broadcasters to time their schedules as close as possible to foreign release dates

It is no surprise to see searches for programmes like ‘The Walking Dead’ reduce when it showed the next day following its US premiere. It also highlights to Irish broadcasters the importance of home produced programming. Imported shows are often downloaded, live sport is now ubiquitous across the internet, but when it comes to home produced programming, viewers have a reason to tune into Irish channels.

Online searches for programmes like ‘Love/Hate’ are consistently lower than those for international programming. Another key factor is distribution. Predictably, the most illegally downloaded TV shows are those on stations with limited penetration in Ireland. ‘Game of Thrones’ for example, is exclusive to SKY Atlantic – which is only available in 46% of Irish homes. It also happens to be the second highest downloaded show after ‘Breaking Bad’.”

Conor Hughes, Director of Ignite Research added; “In the past, many people saw illegal downloading as being all about music. However, with increasing broadband penetration and more importantly, increasing speed of broadband we are seeing a large increase in the number of people illegally downloading broadcast content. 40% of our “illegal downloaders” are using torrent sites and other peer to peer networks to obtain television programmes. The two key reasons for this are still the fact that it is free and the easy availability of such content.”

In addition to the work conducted by Ignite Research, Core Media have also tracked online search requests to identify what is being requested by Irish adults.

David Mulligan, Client Director, Search & Analytics at Radical explained; “We ran search trend reports on two of the highest selling music albums of the year, Ed Sheeran and the Arctic Monkeys. We did the same for two of the highest grossing movies – Transformers and the Lego Movie. These were measured with keywords – “download, stream or torrent”. When we compared the results with ‘Breaking Bad’ or ‘Walking Dead’ – the results were startling. TV programmes were 4 times more frequently searched than movies or music. We saw a larger desire for viewers to watch Irish content online or via streaming services rather than downloaded directly – the US shows were more frequently downloaded rather than actually viewed online.

Nick Fletcher, Core Media explains “When a movie is released in cinemas, the first online copies are often of poor quality. This tends to put people off downloading movies illegally. For music, listeners now have a variety of easily accessible, cheap alternatives to illegal downloading. However, with TV – the quality is near perfect, availability is immediate and services like Netflix or iTunes do not carry the content as soon as viewers want it. Therefore, it makes sense to see why TV is becoming the most popular media for illegal downloads.”

“We have seen the music business attempt to end the piracy business to little effect. However, what they have done is to deliver alternatives for consumers. While there will always be a group of people who will refuse to pay for content, if media companies can offer their programming in multiple ways, across multiple devices, quickly and efficiently the research shows that most people are willing to pay for great entertainment.

“It is clear that any regulation in this area by governments is not going to stop current illegal downloading behaviour. We saw this in 2013, when the Government attempted to block torrent sites in Ireland. Within hours searches for alternate sites or proxy sites went from almost zero to the thousands. Copyright holders need to make it easy, accessible and cheap for their content to be consumed.”



About Core Media:

Core Media is Ireland’s largest media buying group with billings of €165m.  It was voted Agency Network of the Year at this year’s Irish Media Awards.  It was also voted as one of the 100 best places to work for in Europe this year (source: Great Place to Work Institute).

About Ignite Research:

Ignite Research is a strategic market research agency based in the heart of Dublin overlooking the IFSC and Samuel Becket Bridge. As part of the Core Media group, it is a dynamic agency with a team of experienced and inquisitive researchers, Ignite uses the latest and thinking and techniques to find better ways to solve consumer and business research problems. Ignite works to push the boundaries of how things have always been done to find a better way of delivering research and insight in the rapidly changing world and marketplaces which consumers and businesses operate in. Find out more at

About Radical:

Radical exists to make brands interesting for people.  Part of the Core Media Group, we use data-driven insights to pinpoint the opportunity, creative technology to weave it into a story worth telling and media expertise to makes sure it reaches the right audience.  We are a team of over 30, with specialists across search, digital media, analytics, social and creative technology.

For media enquiries and interview requests, please contact:

Natalie Tennyson @PSG Communications: 083 127 1277