Internet piracy has been repeatedly shown to displace the authorised consumption of digital content. However, fewer studies tried to identify a viable solution and none – to the authors’ best knowledge – tried to convert the ‘pirates’ into paying consumers. We conducted a three-wave panel survey among comic book readers, asking about their consumption from various sources. After each wave, a random subsample was provided with prizes in the form of digital comic books from a legal provider. We analyse the effects of prizes on further consumption behaviour. The first prizing scheme incentivised setting up an account, installing a reader app and familiarising oneself with the catalogue of the dominant digital seller of comics. The second scheme aimed at hooking consumers on particular comic book series. However, we find no consistent evidence of a change in the consumption patterns or the willingness to pay for digital formats. We suggest that for the case of comic books the prices of lower-valued digital copies might deter purchase and discuss the use of similar research design for other creative content.
Working paper # 4/2022
Incentivising ‘pirates’ to pay – An experiment with comic book readers
W. Hardy, S. Rożynek, INCENTIVISING ‘PIRATES’ TO PAY – AN EXPERIMENT WITH COMIC BOOK READERS, DELab Working Paper 4/2022, Warsaw 2022.