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Saturday, February 18, 2012

US Movie Industry Hurt With Poor Distribution Logistics

Economics researchers have once again managed to undermine the link between movies’ American box office returns and BitTorrent file-sharing. The study they have published a while ago (we already mentioned it yesterday) proved that reducing the timeframe between the American exhibition and overseas releases can result in less file-sharing, thus reinforcing the premise that people from abroad download films as they couldn’t purchase tickets to them.

The results of the study reveal that file-sharing, at least partially, happens in result of imbalances in supply and demand. Since the entertainment industry fails to fulfil demand in other countries, casual moviegoers are driven towards illegal sources in the first place. The longer the consumers have to wait for their favourite films, the higher the chances that they will turn to unauthorized download instead.

Nevertheless, this theory does not explain all unauthorized downloading, because some people just never visit the theatres to see their favourite releases, regardless of movie availability. For this type of consumers, the delayed release will only render downloading easier and more attractive, and they constantly turn to file-sharing to obtain a copy of the films they like onto their PCs.

In most cases, though, “anti-piracy” campaigns are more a matter of profit maximization than survival. Regardless, the awareness on the issue of optimizing international releases can secure good profits at the box-office, at the same time helping to bring down exaggeratedly high and sometimes unnecessary investments in copyright enforcement.

According to the researchers, American Internet users will choose between the box office and piracy, and in most cases they choose the box office. However, the foreign consumers that would consider both options are more likely to choose piracy because of the lack of legal availability. Despite the fact that countless studies have already provided evidence to the needlessness of the entertainment industry giants’ assault against file-sharing sites, those still remain a subject to ongoing harassment. Finally, the results of the study suggest that the pressure on file-sharing sites may work well when inducing the fear of prosecution, but the reality is that the studios do have the power to contain piracy by a shift in perspective. They simply don’t use it.

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