[Guest post] Digital Culture – Wave 4 of 6 Report by Intellectual Property Office released

The IPKat is pleased to host the following guest post by Katfriend John Shaw (Blake Morgan), tackling the content of the recent report on 'Digital Culture' prepared by the the UK Intellectual Property Office (IPO) in collaboration with the Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre led by Nesta.

Here's what John writes:

Digital Culture – Wave 4 of 6 Report by Intellectual Property Office released
by John Shaw

The Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre have released a further report (Wave 4 of 6) into Digital Culture – Consumer Tracking Study which is analysing the behaviour of consumers during April and May 2020 to better understand the impact of the COVID-19 crisis. The report for Wave 1 of 6, which includes the methodology, is available here (Wave 2 and Wave 3). The full report for Wave 4 of 6 is available here.

With many people consuming more and more digital content, whether it be zoom calls, streaming the Tiger King (which had some IP issues) or The Last Dance (which mentions the Jordan trade mark), or listening to more podcasts, the UK IPO has conducted a study to review the way in which consumers are accessing online content during the current crises. The study states:
The Creative Industries Policy and Evidence Centre (PEC) and the IPO commissioned AudienceNet to design and conduct a weekly nationally representative panel survey of 1000+ consumers aged 16+ on how they engage with digital cultural content in the home. As well as asking many questions drawn from the IPO's Online Copyright Infringement (OCI) Tracker, conducted on 9 occasions since 2010, the survey asks respondents questions about time spent engaging with each content category, and about the wellbeing and other impacts of the COVID-19 crisis.

Consuming content appears to be stable for the fourth week. TV had the highest median time for content consumption. The levels of downloading and streaming have decreased over the last two weeks for film, TV and music with music seeing a significant decline in both streaming and downloading. The level of downloading and accessing video games has been in decline each week. E-publishing remained stable. Over the past four weeks there has been a moderate increase in the number of physical products that have been purchased. 

In relation to the illegal or legal methods used by respondents to access content, for film and TV there has been a decline in the use of illegal methods for downloading and streaming. For accessing and downloading video games, the use of illegal methods has fallen. across e-publishing there was no significant change in total use of illegal methods for accessing or downloading. For other content categories (e.g. social media) there was a decline in the level of people watching live streams. The study also looked at Wellbeing and Lifestyle which shows that levels of anxiety continued to decrease and this must be considered to be a good sign.

Wellbeing and Lifestyle

The wellbeing measures showed no notable shifts between weeks 3 and 4 but, fortunately the levels of anxiety were declining. Levels of happiness appeared to remain stable and satisfaction with life as a whole had increased when compared to the previous week.

And now ... Bring us drinks and snacks!

The median number of downloads by respondents appears to have levelled out, having dropped since week one. The number of respondents downloading music fell by 5% to 13% and the proportion of those using partly or wholly illegal downloading sources increased by 4% to 31%. The number using solely illegal downloading sources increased notably, by 7 percentage points to 22% and this has increased each week (from 9% in week one).

Downloading music via a paid subscription service, by saving content offline, was still the dominant method of downloading, despite a significant reduction (decreasing 6%). The number of hours streaming music per week remained constant but the median number of downloads in the past week has declined over four weeks.


There have been no notable changes in the legal/illegal mix of downloading sources overall over the last three weeks and these levels have all been lower than week one when the use of only illegal or mix of legal and illegal means was at 24%. In week four the proportion using partly or wholly illegal downloading sources was 14%. This reduction in consumption of illegal sources is reflected in the streaming of content as well, with respondents favouring legal sources for films.

Overall, there has been a decrease in the proportion of respondents downloading films during weeks three and four when compared to weeks one and two. This is perhaps due to the fact that there is less new content to download.

The median time spent watching films each day remained constant between week one and week four at three hours per day. Interestingly, physical purchasing increased from 3% to 13% from week one to week four.


There was no notable change between the levels of legal/ illegal downloading of sources which has, over the course of four weeks, decreased (18% - 16% - 12% - 12%). Streaming sources – the use of illegal means has remained constant over the last three weeks, which has always been less than in week one.

The median time spent streaming in the past week has remained constant (at five hours) for the last three weeks compared to eight in week one.

Video Games

Median time spent playing video games per day remains constant (at three hours). Between week three and week four there has been decrease (12% - 6%) in the use of only illegal and mix of legal and illegal sources.

Downloading/ accessing activity has decreased over the four weeks (17% - 16% - 13% - 12%). Also paying a single fee to download and individual video game has decreased from 40% in week one to 28% in week four, with the downloading of free video games increasing and other means of downloading/ accessing content remaining stable.


Median time spent reading/listening remained at two hours per day for books and audiobooks and one hour for magazines. When comparing week three to week four, downloading and accessing Ebooks has declined over the four weeks, as has using partly or wholly illegal downloading sources to access them (18% - 15%). However, the proportion of using partly or wholly illegal downloading sources to download digital magazines increased (20% - 27%) and the use of only illegal sources increased from 10% to 22%. For audiobooks there was a decrease in the proportion of respondents using partly or wholly illegal downloading sources (26% - 21%).

Other content consumption

Watching and reading news continues to be a dominant activity. But there was a decline in week four for “watching live social media streams/ broadcasts…”

There was also a reduced frequency (less than daily) for the following:
  • Watching videos made by other users;
  • Looking at, common on, or “like” social media posts; and
  • Use of video software for social activities.

These results show that consumer behaviour is perhaps levelling out and continuing to adjust to the new normal.  This is shown in the increasing levels of (legal and illegal) downloading in the first two weeks compared to a levelling out and decline in weeks three and four.
[Guest post] Digital Culture – Wave 4 of 6 Report by Intellectual Property Office released [Guest post] Digital Culture – Wave 4 of 6 Report by Intellectual Property Office released Reviewed by Eleonora Rosati on Tuesday, June 02, 2020 Rating: 5

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