One in ten people in the UK are using pirated TV streaming services, a new study has found.
According to research by YouGov, about 4.9 million British adults have access to platforms such as illegal streaming apps on smartphones and tablets and illicit Kodi boxes.
YouGov believes this poses a "major threat" to subscription TV brands. Indeed, it pointed out that since paid-for TV providers entered the mainstream around a year ago, approximately one in seven users of the platforms have cancelled at least one subscription service.
The organisation stated that is likely to be "just the beginning", as 31 per cent of those who use pirated streaming platforms but still have paid-for TV services believe they will cancel their subscriptions in the coming year.
Figures also revealed that about 2.6 million people who do not currently use pirated streaming platforms expect to do so in the future, including approximately 400,000 who plan to start within the next three months.
Some 46 per cent of those who use a pirated platform say this has saved them more than £200 on average.
YouGov said this shows consumers believe illegal streaming services can be of "significant financial benefit" to them.
One respondent justified their actions by saying the paid-for TV industry already makes a lot of money and therefore they are not harming it.
Another argued that the sector is booming, with the amount they lose from streaming being "insignificant", while others said their actions were acceptable because pay-TV does not offer value for money.
Nevertheless, one respondent admitted they have "mixed feelings" about using illegal streaming services, as they were aware it could push up prices for others.
Another concern for the paid-for TV sector is the fact that illegal streaming is particularly popular among younger people.
Indeed, 37 per cent of those who use pirated platforms were found to be aged between 18 and 34.
As a result, YouGov believes "there is a real danger that having got used to getting TV services for free, it will be hard to convince them to pay in the future".