To read this content please select one of the options below:

Segmenting consumers of pirated movies

Jason Ho (Simon Fraser University, Burnaby, Canada)
Charles B. Weinberg (University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada)

Journal of Consumer Marketing

ISSN: 0736-3761

Article publication date: 28 June 2011




This paper seeks to assess how different segments in the movie market respond to three marketing drivers, namely prices, product availability and viewing channels (including piracy).


A total of 12 conjoint profiles were designed with various levels of the three marketing drivers and a questionnaire was administered to respondents from a major Canadian city. Respondents were then segmented by their channels of acquiring pirated movies and a regression model was run to test for their potential differential responses to the three marketing drivers.


The data show that consumers who had recently obtained hardcopies of pirated movies were more price‐sensitive than other consumers. On the other hand, consumers who had obtained pirated movies through two channels, namely purchasing hardcopies and downloading softcopies, were not as eager as non‐pirates to see the movie as soon as it was released or in a movie theater. Surprisingly, the different segments appear to place a similar value on viewing a movie on an authentic DVD as compared to a pirated one.

Research limitations/implications

As respondents were from a convenience sample in a Canadian city, further research should replicate and extend this study in other geographical markets.

Practical implications

The findings demonstrate the need to segment consumers of pirated products by the channels of acquisition and suggest that the movie industry's attempt to portray piracy as being immoral or unethical has had limited impact.


This paper sheds light on the differences between consumers who obtained pirated movies through purchasing hardcopies and those through the internet.



Ho, J. and Weinberg, C.B. (2011), "Segmenting consumers of pirated movies", Journal of Consumer Marketing, Vol. 28 No. 4, pp. 252-260.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Related articles