It may not come as a surprise to learn Brits are streaming more movies, TV shows, and sports online than ever before.
Streaming content online is booming. According to a new report, four in five Britons have used a paid-for streaming service in some capacity over the last year. Research from comparison site finder.com found that Netflix, Amazon, Sky and NOW TV are top when it comes to premium streaming services with them all ranking in the top five when it comes to popularity.
According to the research, 66.12 percent of Brits now stream on Netflix, while Amazon Prime Video is a hit with 48.69 percent of UK streamers and Sky Q and Sky's NOW TV contract-free option are used by 28.7 and 23.71 percent, respectively.
However, despite the massive numbers of Britons choosing to stream using these services, millions of us are still ignoring the warnings and getting our fix of entertainment for free via unofficial sources.
The stats from finder.com suggest that 8.9 million Brits illegally streamed TV shows, films and sports over the past 12 months. If accurate, it means that accessing content without permission is now the sixth most popular streaming method in the UK.
Of those watching in this prohibited way, the most popular entertainment to stream illicitly are films.
However, TV programs such as Game of Thrones came closely behind in second place, with football in third and other sports such as boxing not far behind.
Speaking about the findings, Jon Ostler, CEO at finder.com said: “The fact that our research found over 80% of Brits used a paid streaming service last year shows just how much we rely on online streaming. Services like these give you unlimited access to hundreds of films and TV shows, with Netflix currently listing 1,847 titles in the UK for example.
“These inevitably work out being far cheaper than the alternative of buying DVDs or subscribing to specific TV channels to watch your favourite programmes. Although it can be tempting to view illegally, there are many legal services that can offer reasonable rates that cater for all genres and also cover sporting events.”
Although it may seem harmless, it's worth noting that streaming illegally can have some dire consequences and it's not just about getting in trouble with the law.
It's been widely reported that many are putting themselves at risk from malware by using dodgy streams.
Not only is the quality of the stream often worse than you'll get from legitimate services – or good ol' fashioned Blu-Rays, but there is also a much higher potential of getting a virus on your PC when browsing these illegal streaming websites.
Security websites have also warned about dodgy streaming services monitoring your traffic to siphon off sensitive information. Parents have also been warned about the lack of content curation on these services, with children's films often mixed in with XXX-rated adult movies.