Increased levels of broadband access, powerful and speedy PCs equipped with DVD readers and writers, portable video devices and next generation file-sharing services are making downloading of video content faster and easier than ever.

That’s great news for movie and television producers looking for new ways to distribute their content.

Except for one thing.

According to the NPD Group, among US households with members who regularly use the Internet, 8% (six million households) downloaded at least one digital video file from a P2P service for free in the third quarter of 2006, compared with 2% of households that downloaded a paid video file.

Free, and often illegal, video downloads are outpacing paid video downloads by four to one.

Nearly 60% of the video files downloaded from P2P sites were adult film content, while 20% were TV show content and 5% were mainstream movie content.

"While video P2P downloading is less pervasive than for music, it is a crucial issue for the film industry to keep track of," said Russ Crupnick of the NPD Group. "Even though now the majority of downloaded video content is adult-film content, the amount of intellectual property stolen from mainstream movie studios, networks and record labels will continue to rise, unless strong and sustained action is taken to prevent piracy."

Via eMarketer