Users of File-Sharing Networks Don’t Mind Ads for Free Content

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Survey reveals growing opportunities for advertisers to reach consumers in multiple Internet channels using P2P distribution.

According to a new survey released today by INTENT MediaWorks, seven out of 10 (74 percent) of U.S. Internet users are receptive to viewing advertisements in exchange for free or discounted downloads, while eight out of 10 (83 percent) would have a more positive opinion of advertisers who offered free downloads in exchange for viewing ads. The research, conducted by Infosurv, Inc., strongly suggests opportunities for reaching Internet users at the point of consumption, by sponsoring free downloads in P2P.

“When consumers search for media files – such as songs, videos or games – in P2P networks, they’re looking for instant access to today’s most popular titles,” said Andy Cooper, co-founder and SVP of INTENT MediaWorks. “When consumers find the files they are looking for, they share files with friends through P2P, personal blog posts, adding the files to their social networking pages, or send them via email, text or IM. If advertisers sponsor that content, their programs can reach consumers across multiple Internet channels from one source.”

The survey was conducted online among 1,000 Internet users who use various tools to search for, download and share digital media, including P2P file-sharing networks, music download sites, streaming sites and search engines. The survey was commissioned by INTENT MediaWorks, one of the leading distributors of digital media content and advertising via P2P networks and across websites, social networks and other Internet channels, to determine consumer P2P usage patterns and receptivity to advertising-sponsored downloads in P2P.

P2P User Behavior:

Only two out of 10 (21 percent) of survey respondents use P2P to obtain “free” downloads, bucking common perceptions that P2P is only about illegal downloading and file-sharing. More than seven out of 10 (78 percent) use file-sharing systems for reasons other than “free” downloads, including:

  • 21% because search results are “media only” or P2P provides simpler search experience (don’t have to weed through websites)
  • 17% to find individual titles versus an entire album
  • 13% to find unique or rare content
  • 13% to listen or preview an item before purchasing

When it comes to paying for files versus downloading them illegally, more than seven in ten respondents (75%) are willing to pay for content downloaded from P2P networks to own a legal copy of the file (including music, videos and games) – suggesting new opportunities for legal content owners and advertisers alike to distribute and monetize content with P2P.

“There are currently more than 80 million U.S. Internet users that search and download files from P2P networks each month, 10 million or more at any one time,” adds Cooper. “With more than 70 percent of P2P users between the ages of 16 and 34, there is significant opportunity for advertisers to reach teens and young adults through this channel, by providing free or discounted download opportunities for legal, licensed content.

Receptivity to Advertising in P2P:

Seven out of 10 (73 percent) of respondents are willing to watch general advertising during the download process in order to obtain the content legally and either free or at a reduced price. In addition, six out of 10 (63 percent) are willing to provide personal information – such as age, gender and zip code – in order to receive free downloads. More than eight out of 10 (83 percent) would have a more positive opinion of advertisers who made it possible for consumers to get “free and legal” copies of the files they are searching for in P2P.

For complete results of the “P2P Usage Survey” from INTENT MediaWorks, please contact Andy Cooper, co-founder and SVP of INTENT MediaWorks, at 678.387.2410.

About the Survey

This survey was conducted online within the U.S. by Infosurv, Inc. on behalf of INTENT MediaWorks during the month of May 2007 among 1,000 Internet users between the ages of 16 and 40. All survey respondents were users of multiple online services for searching, downloading and sharing music, including P2P, online music stores, video-sharing sites and social networks.

About INTENT MediaWorks, Inc.

INTENT MediaWorks, Inc. one of the largest distributors of authorized digital media content – including songs, videos, and games – in P2P networks, and across websites, social networks and other popular Internet destinations. Nearly 1 million files are downloaded from INTENT’s Media Platform each day, and nearly 70,000 new media files are added to its platform each week. INTENT has been working with content owners and advertisers since 2003, helping them safely distribute and monetize content online. For more information on INTENT MediaWorks, please visit: INTENT MediaWorks.

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Christian Wright

Christian Wright is the VP of Client Services at Infosurv. With a master’s in marketing research, he’s equipped to design actionable research that yields impactful insights and drives change.
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