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Researchers Find Megaupload Shutdown Hurt Box Office Revenues 203

An anonymous reader writes "We've heard this one before, over and over again: pirates are the biggest spenders. It therefore shouldn't surprise too many people to learn that shutting down Megaupload earlier this year had a negative effect on box office revenues. The latest finding comes from a paper titled: 'Piracy and Movie Revenues: Evidence from Megaupload.'"
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Researchers Find Megaupload Shutdown Hurt Box Office Revenues

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  • Re:Shallow research (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Trepidity ( 597 ) <> on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:09PM (#42088055)

    In addition, they don't even claim their findings were statistically significant...

  • by xetovss ( 17621 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:10PM (#42088071) Journal

    Just because there is alleged correlation between the two events doesn't mean the lower box office revenues were caused by the shutdown. Perhaps it is due to lackluster movies this year, perhaps it was due to the ever dwindling economy so those who would have normally gone to a movie couldn't justify spending an ever increasing amount on tickets (and concessions if the choose to get those), or perhaps it was just more people going to see "matinee" showings which are often a lot less expensive which drives down revenues but perhaps increases ticket sales. Heck one local theater to me has matinee showings that are $3 and most other showings are less than $5 before 6PM.

    Perhaps instead of counting revenues they should count actual ticket sales. Like when they say a movie has broken a box office revenue record, is it because more people are actually seeing the movie or is it because ticket prices are at record highs?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 25, 2012 @02:42PM (#42088269)

    US law clearly states that they are not responsible for their customers actions any more than slashdot is responsible for the content of your posts here.
    If the DOJ ever did take this illegal seizure to a trial they would lose badly not only on that fact but also on the many procedural errors that were made.

  • by GPierce ( 123599 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @03:00PM (#42088383)

    In Las Vegas, Circle Park was shut down because some people were feeding the homeless.

    (The park had become a place for homeless people to congregate, and there were other problems caused by some of the homeless in the neighborhoods surrounding the park.)

    The courts said it was illegal to prevent feeding the homeless so they shut the park down completely.

  • by theArtificial ( 613980 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @03:48PM (#42088593)

    There's only a small, finite number of movies in theaters at any one time - the article mentioned 1344. If each one were hosted once, that'd be 1344 files.

    You're close. To those not aware movies and other large files frequently encountered from the scene are stored in archives (usually archives within archives) which range in size from 2,5,10,25,50,75,100+ megs for parity and convenience. If you'd like some sources for this peruse a tracker website sometime, do so with adblock at the very least. That being said, a single movie may have anywhere from 7 for the CDR sized DIVX encodes to close to 100 pieces for the 1080p variety, with the larger pieced out files typically encountered on the Megauploads of the world. On top of that there are different release groups, let's estimate that at about 5 for commonly accessible popular releases. There are many more than that especially if you include one off releases by non affiliated individuals like "MrMovieMagic Brave 720p", and then multiple releases of the same movie for different regions (English, Deutsch, Finnish, Russian, Spanish) etc. Remember this is loosely about 'cred'. Shifting the focus from encoded movies to DVD ISOs, music, software (think multigigabyte Autodesk or Adobe products, games etc.), ebooks, and you can imagine there is a lot of duplication involved. I'm not sure if you've done any work with version control, but I imagine the duplication of content on Megaupload in essence to be very similar to that of revision iterations. Oh look, another release due to encoding errors, random mislabeled files (you think that's %Language% you're getting, muhahaha), password protected junk (visit my site yo!), and down the rabbit hole it goes.

    Therefore, it's possible that both are correct - most files were not piracy related, but there were some that did, and they may have had an effect on the market.

    Or the crazy idea that free advertising works. Not that I think that is exactly what this is (many of these people have no intention of buying, ever.)

  • Re:incorrect quote (Score:4, Interesting)

    by jc42 ( 318812 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @04:16PM (#42088763) Homepage Journal

    That "negative, yet insignificant" bit was actually in the abstract. When I read it, my immediate thought was "Typo?" But yeah, it was a case of someone dropping the "in some cases" phrase. This wasn't an error in the reporting; it was done by whoever wrote the published abstract.

    You'd think they'd have noticed and fixed it by now. Or perhaps (being social scientists ;-) they didn't understand the issue, and were really just using common speech rather than technical speech in the abstract. As someone already pointed out, "(in)significant" means something different in common speech and statistical terminology.

  • by klingers48 ( 968406 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @05:12PM (#42089067)
    Come back to me when your movie prices are like they are here in Australia.

    We currently have higher-than-parity with the US dollar, but an adult movie ticket is now sitting around the $17 range. For 3D, they usually charge $20... then another few bucks for the 3D glasses. They're also starting to get into the habit of not giving you a choice of 2D or 3D on the big movies, so you have to pay more for an arguably inferior movie format.

    They wonder why Australia has one of the highest piracy rates in the world.
  • by corychristison ( 951993 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @06:23PM (#42089423)

    You may be surprised to hear (read) this, but prices vary by market.

    I live in a small city in Saskatchewan, Canada. Prices here are $9.50 and a dollar more if it is 3D.

    I have family in Calgary, Alberta, Canada (1 million+ population). Last time we saw a movie there the ticket price was $17. Add a popcorn or drink, that's another $5-$7 each. This was a couple years ago so things may have changed.

    If you have kids, you either have to bring them or pay a babysitter to watch them. There's another $20-30 for a babysitter.

    I used to rent movies all the time. Minimum one visit to Blockbuster a week. $5-6 a week is much more economical. However Blockbuster Canada went out of business so they could pay off their U.S. debt. At the same time, Rogers Video closed down a chunk of their stores, the one in my town being one of them.

    Now its Torrents for me because I am out of options. $40 for the theatre is too much (including babysitter). That's also the cost of buying a Bluray thesebdays.... I'm not about to commit my money to that if I don't like the movie and never actually watch it.

    So I torrent it, and if I really like it, I will buy it. Just watched The Expendables 2 last night... I enjoyed it, no real storyline but I was entertained (OMG, explosions!). Not really a movie I would buy but my wife _really_ likes it so we will probably get it.

    Not many movies out there I want to watch more than once. All of the kids movies we download we end up buying.... Disney Cars (1&2) my son likes to watch each twice a week.

  • by kqs ( 1038910 ) on Sunday November 25, 2012 @06:30PM (#42089467)

    I'm curious if the city-wide crime statistics dropped when the park was closed. If so, I'm happy that the nanny state stepped in and protected citizens who would not protect themselves. If not, then the city deprived people of their park so that criminals would have to walk three blocks to commit their crimes.

"I'm not afraid of dying, I just don't want to be there when it happens." -- Woody Allen