Study: BitTorrent Piracy Doesn't Significantly Hurt Box Office Revenue
February 15, 2012 5:08 PM
Another study shows BitTorrent piracy may not have a negative impact on box office sales in the US
A joint study between the University of Minnesota and Wellesley College indicated online BitTorrent piracy doesn't have a significant impact on movie sales.
U.S. consumers are more likely to head to the theater to watch a movie, even with numerous piracy options available. Additionally, there is no direct correlation between movie availability on BitTorrent and in-theater movie releases, despite the availability of cam releases and DVD screeners for free via the Internet.
However, international consumers are more likely to choose piracy over the box office, because of a lack of viewing options overseas.
As part of the "Reel Piracy: The Effect of Online Film Piracy on International Box Office Sales'" paper, researchers looked for a correlation between US and international movie sales tied to piracy.
Against the argument offered by the RIAA and MPAA that
online piracy hurts sales
, University of Minnesota and Wellesley College researchers have proven otherwise.
"We do not see evidence of elevated sales displacement in U.S. box office revenue following the adoption of BitTorrent, and we suggest that delayed legal availability of the content abroad may drive the losses to piracy," researchers noted. "We find that longer release windows are associated with decreased box office returns, even after controlling for film and country fixed effects."
Copyright groups continue to blame Internet piracy for a decline in sales and revenue; however, research has shown otherwise. Even with global efforts to stop pirate services and attacks on individuals, movie trade groups are expected to remain steadfast against Internet users.
"In short, we do not see much evidence that piracy displaces U.S. box office sales in our data, although this result should be taken cautiously as the 'experiment' for examining US piracy is less clean than that for international piracy," researchers also noted.
Instead of a direct assault on Internet piracy, movie trade groups need to focus on expanding the number of movie theaters internationally, along with reducing international release window timeframe. Movie studios also must ensure their marketing efforts generate buzz, or international movie viewers will remain reliant on the Internet to pirate films.
The battle between copyright groups and online movie pirates will continue, and it seems unlikely either side will make significant progress. The MPAA will ultimately
pressure the government
to help enforce anti-piracy legislation, plus verify ISPs will keep better check on subscribers.
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