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Vast Majority of Top Films, TV Shows Are Available Legally Online: Study

Hollywood is delivering more movies and TV shows via legal digital outlets than ever, although most titles are available for purchase or rental rather than subscription VOD.

As of December 2013, 94% of 808 top films analyzed were legally available in the U.S. through online video-on-demand services, according to a new study by KPMG. The study also found that 85% of 724 of the most popular and critically acclaimed TV shows were available to American consumers through online video services.

The study indicates that, although piracy continues to flourish, studios and networks are making their content available to consumers in many different ways. “The fact of the matter is, the content is largely available,” said Sanjaya Krishna, principal of KPMG’s Media and Telecommunications practice in the U.S.

KPMG conducted research for the report between October 2013 and December 2013, with research on the availability of independent film titles conducted in March 2014. The firm selected the sample of 808 films and 724 TV shows representing both the most popular and most critically acclaimed titles, and analyzed the availability of the titles on 34 competing legal online VOD services including Netflix, Apple’s iTunes, Amazon Prime and Hulu.

Among the movie titles in the study, 94% were available on electronic sell-through platforms like iTunes. But just 16% were available on SVOD services like Netflix, KPMG found. For TV shows, 81% were available on EST and 44% were on SVOD, while just 5% were on ad-supported VOD services.

The 27 films in the KPMG sample that were not available digitally (excluding those in the theatrical or pay-TV window at the time) were either movies that had “complicated rights” associated with various parties, or were simply not made available, the firm said. Of top TV shows, 96% of series from 2012 and 95% of those from 2011 were available on digital services, compared with 87% of 2013 shows, according to KPMG.

The KPMG study does not include “TV Everywhere” services, offered through pay-TV providers via deals with programmers. The full report is available at kpmg.com/us/DigitalFilmTV.

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