Illegal downloads by 'nation of couch potatoes'

ILLEGAL downloads of videos and television shows are driven by the cost and availability of content in Australia, a new report shows.

The Choice report showed most Australians never download pirated videos, but up to 33% had illegally downloaded or streamed content online.

It also showed those who illegally downloaded shows and movies were more likely to pay for legitimate content than others.

Choice campaign director Matt Levey said the research showed, rather than a nation of "pirates", Australia was "a nation of couch potatoes who seek out content online and off".

The report found most people were pirating online content due to the high cost of content in Australia, and time differences between Australian and foreign releases of new shows and movies.

Mr Levey said providers and production houses needed to "catch up" with the internet as it was easy to release content more quickly.

"This research shows that the most effective way to dramatically reduce piracy is to fix the problems of cost and availability of content in Australia," he said.

Mr Levey said Australian consumers were happy to pay, but they "want the right content at the right time".