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Why waste hard drive space? Study shows streaming made up 75 percent of piracy in 2015

Are you finding yourself streaming more and more content while your Blu-ray collection gathers dust? It turns out that the convenience of streaming is just as alluring to those who aren’t paying for their content.

Game of Thrones might have been the most downloaded show of 2015, but even pirates are turning away from downloads. According to MUSO’s 2016 Global Film & TV Piracy Market Insight Report, the vast majority of piracy in 2015 took place via illegal streaming, with a total of 57.8 billion visits to piracy sites last year — that’s nearly 75 percent of all visits to such sites.

More than 12 percent of the global piracy audience in 2015 came from the U.S., with a total of 9.86 billion visits. Many of the other top countries were located in Europe, with France, Germany, and the U.K. all claiming spots in the top 10. People might be doing more browsing via mobile devices these days, but apparently not pirates, as 72 percent of the total 78.5 billion visits to piracy sites in 2015 came from desktop devices.

While still popular, downloads via torrents made up only just over 17 percent of visits, declining by 18 percent between the first six months and last six months of 2015. While this means there are still plenty of users out there building enormous collections of downloaded TV shows, movies, and music, more and more of them are opting to stream instead.

“Piracy audiences are becoming better connected, more tech savvy, and know what they want, which is why so many of them have chosen to stream infringing content, rather than download it illegally,” MUSO’s Chief Commercial Officer Christopher Elkins said in a statement.

Related: KickassTorrents meets its maker, alleged founder arrested by US government

Another possible reason for the increase is that some users who were previously getting content from legitimate services like Netflix via means like VPNs are finding they can no longer do that and are resorting to piracy instead. While installing a torrent client and finding a tracker might be beyond the realm of the not so tech-savvy, clicking the play button on a website isn’t.

Government agencies continue to focus on taking down torrent sites, with the alleged founder of Kickass Torrents arrested last week, but now it seems that they have a new problem on their hands. With options like Torrents Time being as easy for site operators to set up as installing a plugin, they’ve got their work cut out for them.

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