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Movies Piracy The Almighty Buck

Economist: File Sharing's Impact On Movies Is Modest At Most 214

First time accepted submitter SillyBoy123 writes What is the impact of file sharing releases on the movie industry? Ask the studios and they will say billions. An economist named Koleman Strumph is presenting a paper at the National Bureau of Economics this week that tries to estimate the crowd out from these releases. His conclusion: "I find that file sharing has only a modest impact on box office revenue." In fact, Strumph finds that file sharing before the official release of a movie can actually be beneficial to revenues: "One consistent result is that file sharing arrivals shortly before the theatrical opening have a modest positive effect on box office revenue. One explanation is that such releases create greater awareness of the film. This is also the period of heaviest advertising. In conjunction with the main estimates, this suggests that free and potentially degraded goods such as the lower quality movies available on file sharing networks can have some beneficial effects on intellectual property."
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Economist: File Sharing's Impact On Movies Is Modest At Most

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  • by Sockatume ( 732728 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:08AM (#47448239)

    I wonder if noticing that trend around leaks is what gave Hideo Kojima the crazy idea of releasing a vertical slice of MGSV as a "warm-up" game mid-development.

  • Re:"Lower quality"? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Stewie241 ( 1035724 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:09AM (#47448241)

    The KPI they are looking at is box office revenue. So, yes, the trailers are obviously unskippable. But it could be argued that many people don't have the same quality AV setup in their homes that the theaters have. The quality is determined by two things - one, the quality of the source material and the quality of the venue and playback equipment.

    Now what I wonder is whether the shared movie's availability helps draw more people to the box office, or whether it instead draws more people already going to the box office towards a particular film. i.e. does it make the pie bigger or does it increase the size of the slice that a particular movie gets?

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday July 14, 2014 @10:12AM (#47448289)

    I go to the movie theater to get an experience and that experience is tangential to the actual movie itself. I go to a movie theater because either A) they have a large screen and great sound and other features (sometimes food) that I cannot reasonably replicate at home or B) I'm on a date or other social outing or C) both of the above. If I wanted to just see the movie and don't care if it is on a shitty little screen at home TV or my computer then the theater going experience has nothing to offer me. I go to see Godzilla in the theater because big monsters should be seen on a big screen with awesome sound. I go to see a RomCom in theaters because I'm on a date. Theaters need to cater to these reasons or there is no reason to go there. Places like Alamo Drafthouse seem to comprehend this.

    As for media purchases, I'm more than happy to buy a copy of a DVD (or similar media) IF and only if the price is not outrageous. The price to buy a DVD should be similar or less than the cost to see the movie in theaters. I'm giving up a large screen and awesome sound but I can watch the movie repeatedly. If the movie publisher insists that their movie costs $25 to view on my shitty little screen at home, then they should damn well expect me to look for a more economical way to view that movie - possibly including piracy if I'm sufficiently motivated. I'm simply not willing to pay that much for a mediocre experience even if I can play it as much as I want. Sell the DVDs for reasonable prices and with minimal restrictions (such as no mandatory ads EVER) and most people will be willing to fork over a few bucks without much fuss. People buy music from iTunes because for them it is a reasonable economic value (in spite of its flaws. If they charged say $3/song I doubt it would be nearly as popular.

    Basically if they provide a good product for a reasonable price, I'm happy to pay them for their work. If they insist on gouging me and place too many obstacles in my way then they should expect me to go around them and pay them nothing. If the movie turns out to be shitty I expect the price to reflect that fact quickly. I think most people feel similarly.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday July 14, 2014 @03:11PM (#47450529)

    I'm sure you are narrowly defining "quality" as picture and sound quality, but there is much more to an enjoyable experience than this. Going to the theater has many annoyances that are completely solved by the home theater.

    -Snacks selection is tailored to your tastes and reasonably priced. Including booze, tobacco, cocaine, whatever you like!
    -Your friends/family can watch the movie with you, without buying an extra ticket.
    -No annoying patrons breaking your immersion with their phones, talking, and odors.
    -No 7 foot tall fat-headed people sitting between you and the screen.
    -Clean floors, comfortable seats.
    -Pause button.
    -No Pre-movie advertisements.

    I could go on and on about how going to the movie theater, even one that has the best projectors and sound, is a losing proposition.

I am more bored than you could ever possibly be. Go back to work.