New research claims Apple accounts for 90 per cent of paid video download sales.

According to the NDP Group, about 1.2 million US households purchased at least one video from an online store in Q3 2006. Consumers mainly opted for TV shows (62 per cent) and music videos (24 per cent), but only the latter are available to customers in the UK at present.

However, these legitimate sales accounted for just one fifth of total video traffic. Most consumers are downloading video using peer-to-peer services, and nearly 60 per cent of this traffic was adult movies.

NDP senior analyst Russ Crupnick said: "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."

The analysts also expects the level of paid downloads to double or event triple next year as more content is made legitimately available.