Study Finds BitTorrent Does Not Hurt U.S. Box Office Numbers

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bling581

When people go to the movies it's not about the content as much as it's about the experience (and popcorn!). If it was only about the money then logic would dictate that everyone would just wait for it to come out in stores so they could rent it or buy it. I see lots of movies that I know I will buy on disc even before I go see it. Seeing something in 3D plus soda and popcorn is an easy $20+ for just a single person. Then buying it for a minimum of $15 on DVD comes out to around $40 including tax. Let's see, $40 versus $1 on Redbox, does not make logical sense but this just proves my point. I can't even imagine how much it costs for an entire family to go see a movie, but the objective is having an enjoyable night out, not about money.

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Vlad from Kharkov

We have a very serious torrent problem in my country. Every movie which runs in cinemas can be easily downloaded with the torrent, but the quakity of such records is auwful! I honestly don't understand why people make them anyway... I like to read your blog a lot. It always contains interesting information, useful sometimes. I have taken some ideas from here how a blog should be performed also for my own one about furnished apartments in Kharkov(http://www.kharkov-apartment.com.) Thanks!

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joel1981ia

i know alot of people are going to disagree with me, in principle i am not going to argue. but in the literal sense, i am correct, in that there is no validity in these conglomerations claiming 'losses' when the item they recorded and produced is downloaded, nor is it possible to actually conduct a 100% accurate study on this.

there are some people who won't go to the theater, even if they want to watch a movie. there are several acceptable reasons to not go to a theater - the chatter on the cell phone, screaming kids, costing a week's paycheck for some people after buying 'refreshments' at the thousand percent markup, etc.

CaptainFabulous also makes a good point, the actual artist doesn't really ever see any profits off the movies, they are paid a pre-set agreed upon amount. musicians get a couple nickles per CD sold that they produce, but compared to the rest of the 20 you spend at the store, i consider it offensive to the artist to get as little as they get off their sales.

there can't be money lost unless it was there to start with - i know, they mean loss of profit. people today are careless about how they use words, and since that isn't my fault, i will not continue to apologize. the point is that if i download a movie that i want to watch, and have absolutely no intention of buying it (it's either find it online to download or i just won't watch it) then there is absolutely no loss of even profit there. therefore, it wasn't a loss. i have no problem with anyone who wants to download, and yes i would say that even if i were an artist - or for that matter a recording label. there is, however a catch to that, i do not accept the selling of the material downloaded for a profit on the art contained on the disk. recoup money for the disk and maybe an extra nickel to replace the disk and pay sales tax that it cost you, no problem. ***these are my opinions...however, i know that legally these parameters are all but impossible to enforce as the defense will claim that the defendant wasn't charging for the music, he was charging 10 dollars for the disk...so while on principle/moral basis, i am on the side of the 'pirates' i also understand the complexity of writing a law that lawyers can't stretch to cover both sides of the argument and beyond in cases like this.

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Belboz99

There's a number of shows which don't make their episodes available online, and they aren't aired on cable networks I can afford.

WTF else am I supposed to do? Wait a year to blow $60 on a DVD release of the season?

Doctor Who is a big one, it's not available on Hulu, BBC essentially blocks you if you live in the USA (not like they have the actual episodes available online anyway) and we don't have a cable package that includes BBC America.

The Daily Show is another... They make the episodes available online, often weeks after they were aired. Yeah, fake news from 2 weeks ago, um... no thanks.

There's the Hulu Plus thing, but hey, we're poor, so sue us. :P

Dan O.

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oihorse

You can get Doctor Who the day after it airs on iTunes or Amazon. On Amazon it's $0.99 an episode.

In fact between the two you can pretty much buy any show that isn't on HBO.

Very affordable. Very accessible. Very easy.

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bling581

"On Amazon it's $0.99 an episode."
"Very affordable. Very accessible. Very easy."

Well, that all depends on how many you are going to watch. I can't tell you how many TV series I've watched between Netflix and Hulu, some being over 200 episodes. At 99 cents an episode you can see where it's not really affordable. If you're just trying to catch up on a show you missed here and there then that's another story.

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bling581

"WTF else am I supposed to do? Wait a year to blow $60 on a DVD release of the season?"

Netflix streaming only isn't that expensive. I watched the entire 200+ episodes of Battlestar Gallactica in a month or two. The entire set at Best Buy was something like $120 or $140. Look at how much money I saved while still getting it legally and cheap. And that's just a single show, I can't tell you how many hundreds (thousands?) of episodes I've seen between Netflix and Hulu.

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stige

you were making sense and i agreed with you,until the last part.

$8.99 a month is too much to support the content creators you enjoy?

i get not wanting anything to do with a $100 a mo cable bill but seriously, $8.99 a month is too much?

that is just rationalization, an excuse. and it just makes you sound like a jerk.

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gothliciouz

cool story

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abini

My family doesn't go to the Theater to see a movie anymore. I got tired of spending $55 or more in tickets and then another $50 for cokes and popcorn. $100 to take a family of 5 to a movie? Really? So we put in a home theater, bought a lot of equipment on ebay and now we have 7.1 THX surround sound, a 102" screen and watch anything we want through either on demand or Netflix for a fraction of the cost. You just have to wait a little while and nobody is being loud or obnoxious that isn't related to you.

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hastyscorpion

The conclusions being drawn by this study are completely wrong. There is a big difference in comparing correlation of Torrent downloads to ticket sales and comparing a world where torrenting is not possible. Right now in general the people who torrent their movies are going to torrent most of their movies and the people who go to the theater will buy most of their movie tickets. Back in the 80s everyone had to buy all of their media and a lot more of it was sold.

For example in 1984 Bruce Springsteen sold 30 million albums and Madonna, Bob Marley, Prince, and Tina Turner all sold at least 20 million albums. This Year the top selling album was Adele 21 with 15 million while the next biggest album
was Lady Gaga 5 million.

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godsdog

maybe they need to make better music...
not going to buy a album just because it says Madonna in the cover.
Every year it gets cheaper to make and release a album. If they keep charging the high prices for inferior music what would you expect. I'll wait until the album is in a bin in some petrol station for €4.99. I read somewhere that Pink Floyd latest album did not sell as well because of torrents... Not true i have a bunch of them and they are the same crap with small variations, what do they want???

About Adele, i bought the blu-ray live, the sound for my standard is shit, if they want to sell then make a good product.

This situation has been going on by far to long, i will not spend my money again until this idiots from the major studios stop pointing fingers for their inability to recognize that this is just their fault.

PS, What I see many people doing is buying a various artists Cd with all the songs they want and some more. Usually people will like a couple of songs per Cd, why buy the all thing, get a VA album.

Sorry for any misspelling.

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TheMiddleman

You, sir, are a moron. No one buys albums anymore, and thank god for that. Why should we spend 15 dollars on a full album when only one or two songs on said album are worth listening to?

To better illustrate my point, here is a well written article from 2010, on the death of album sales, and the rise of singles thanks to the digital revolution.

http://articles.businessinsider.com/2011-02-18/tech/30052663_1_riaa-music-industry-cd-era

Also, lets not ignore the fact that 2012 has been a great year for Hollywood thus far, especially when compared to 2011's abysmal numbers. Surprise surprise, when studios release movies people actually want to see, they go see them. Insane, I know, but hopefully recent box office results mean that the suits have realized this as well.

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Hey.That_Dude

Spoken like a true 40+ year old.

Yeah, we of the CURRENT era have the choice of which songs we buy off of an album (i.e. zune/itunes/etc).
Because we buy what we want and not the entire album, it DOESN'T count towards the album sold total. EVEN if I buy all of the songs individually, it doesn't count.
THAT AND ONLY THAT, is the reason for the decline in albums sold. (It's like those damn auto insurance commercials: "people who switch" NO DUH! I wouldn't switch if I didn't save money!)

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hastyscorpion

First of all I am 20 not 40+. And second, That example I gave was just that, an example. Obviously the ease of buying one song off an album has led to a decrease in album sales. But there are many other components in the decrease of album sales, such as every song being on youtube, grooveshark and yes, torrent sites. You are incredibly naive if you think torrent sites have had NO effect on music and media sales.

You also completely missed my point, I was talking specifically about the science of the study which is incredibly flawed. Just because there isn't a correlation between the specific number of torrents and ticket sales, does not mean that torrents do not effect ticket sales. I imagine that more highly torrented movies even do better at the box office since those are the movies that people want to see. The very EXISTENCE of torrent sites and the general ability to get media for free has led to a fall in ticket sales.

In order to see whether torrents have an impact on ticket sales you would have to do something that is not possible. You would have to compare the world as it is now and a world where torrents are not possible. The very existence of free media has change consumer preferences so they do not value media as much.

It's all about economics, if you can get something for free you won't pay for it. Likewise if suppliers see that you getting their content for free is stopping you from buying it they will try to find a way to make you pay for it.

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Hey.That_Dude

Although you definition of "free" is a bit loose for my tastes. I'd say you've got it partly right. Just don't use bad examples.

Youtube isn't free in that I have to look at all that damn ad space. that ad space makes revenue. People pay to have their crap on that page and if you don't think the record companies get some kick back by bringing business to Youtube then you've obviously had a bit to much of "insert drug here".

And about the 40+ year old thing... that's how that generation thinks. i talk to them too often while doing their Tech support. Same people who don't get that Apple isn't secure because all they hear is "apple is secures, no virus-ies heres" and then bring me their machine and go "it's not working, fix it". It brings me joy to say "sorry, not licenced to repair Mac's. Take it to the apple store."

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warptek2010

Hollywood needs some major reforms.
My list: First and foremost... get our of politics. You're not in the business of changing the world. You're in the business of making movies. Dividing your American audience is not in your economic best interest.
Get back to making original artistic films and get off the endless cycle of remakes. re-imaginings and most importantly... turning comic books into movies. There are tons of great books, novellas and short stories written over the last 100 years alone that would make great films.
Return to real model making and inventive ways instead of relying solely on CGI. Computer animation has come a long way but a discerning eye can still tell it's a computer.
A movie costing 100 million to make is complete bullshit. That's why so much is at stake and you're willing to prosecute the public on so called "pirating". You can make great films for a 1/4 of that.

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Jake1313

Well said. To paraphrase a great movie "not until the entire generation of current Hollywood decision makers lays down and dies will the dead weight of them be off our backs".

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h e x e n

Well said my friend.

Hollywood's process is just old and outdated. They're desperately clinging to what made them money 10 or 20 years ago with a business/creation model that just doesn't apply in today's day and age.

Problem is, Hollywood's structure is already in place and they're reluctant to change. Instead of placing the blame where it really belongs: inferior concepts, creation manifesto and piss poor ingenuity, they want a scapegoat to point their finger at to take all the blame. This will allow them to justify pumping out the same vacant garbage year after year after year.

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Carlidan

It's like reforming and getting corporations out of politics. It ain't going to happen until there is change in our constitutional amendment or law that addresses those issues.

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OCFRED

I agree with this study, Hollywood by and large is looking for scapegoats to justify brilliant decisions like paying $3m for spec scripts to sequels (the "Almighty" franchise) or spending ten times as much to produce re-makes or brilliant foreign films rather than licensing the original for domestic distribution. Many of the torrents we have are to replace damaged physical disks that have become unwatchable but are lacking the bonus features and commentaries we paid for in the first place. First run pictures I've found worth enjoying on the big screen (new Sherlock Holmes and the Artist for example) are made even better by premium $20 a seat theaters offering superior accommodations, gourmet foods and beer/wine to relax in even better than at home (no cleanup :-).

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fuzz_64

These companies drastically need to reduce the price of disc sales.. I prefer owning physical media but not when it costs 2-3 times as much as seeing it in the theatre and is only available month's later.

If the video was available on blu-ray the same day it was available in theatres, I'd completely understand why they're so expensive but waiting half a year and paying twice a much to see a video you saw months ago is simply ludicrous.

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chart2006

Who cares to download what they already own? Half the movies that have come out as of late came out over 20 years ago. Disneys crap: Beauty and the Beast, The Lion King, and so on; then you have the 3D of Star Wars. Not only that but you have movies that aren't original at all but "re-imagined" versions of previous ones. Hollywood has lost its ability to produce a good "original" movie. They focus on special affects to the point that they lose sight of everything else. In other words I'm not impressed!

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t.y.wan

You know what is killing the cinemas? STUPID KIDS, they make so much noise in the cinema that annoys the hell out of me every time.
The only occasions I do visit a cinema is when my parents want to watch something. Personally, if the cinema would only re-enforce not only the M-rated film and other regulations that they SHOULD have done anyway, it would be a lot better experience.

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firefox91

Groups like MPAA lost more money trying to prosecute downloaders than they did actually losing money from them downloading. They automatically assume that if they download a movie, they lost money in ticket or DVD sales. Fact is, a lot of those people simply would have just never seen the movie if downloads were not available.

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szore

RIP BTJunkie.org

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christiehartshorn

Finally! Some data! thanks for sharing!

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Scatter

Um, I have to call bullshit on this study until they provide more information about their 'study' What kind of testing did they do which made them qualified to make this claim? Wouldn't they have to know what a movie's numbers would have been if torrents didn't exist in order to know how much of an impact torrents had on the movie's sales? It sounds like there's as much real facts in this studs as there is in most of the RIAA and MPA's studies.

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whitneymr

Let's see your question the statics produces by 2 respected university that actually understand & teach statics versus Hollywood who has a long history of pulling stats out of thin air and/or their ass.

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Tenhawk

Actually, while it would be preferable to have a 'control' film that wasn't pirated, it isn't strictly needed.

What you can do is compare movie sales vs download numbers and look for a correlation between downloads and sales. As you gather more movies and download data, you can start to determine the overall effect by the differences you see from movie to movie.

In the end you won't get perfectly definitive numbers, but you will get good probable averages. It isn't as clean as I would like if I were taking it to court, but it is a scientifically acceptable methodology.

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Scatter

I don't see how that would work either.

For starters there's no real way to know exactly how many times a movie it downloaded on a torrent. They can track some sites but I'd suspect that it would only be a fraction of what's actually downloaded.

And secondly, how do they determine whether ticket sales weren't what they expected because of piracy or because the movie just wasn't that good?

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Brdn666

The quality of the torrent of a movie that is in theaters is really bad. Sometimes it's nearly unwatchable. So who would want to waste their time to download and watch a shitty quality movie when they could just go to the theater and see a much better looking video (+ the whole experience is pretty fun)

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abini

Don't know about torrenting, but when I was deployed to Iraq in 07/08 and Afghanistan last year, they sold all the handi-cam DVDs so you could see them as soon as they came out in the states. Crappy video, crappy audio, but you could see a first run movie nearly simultaneous with its stateside release. Same deal in Korea when I lived there 2009-2011. Seems like the Industry should worry about pirating in the rest of the world instead of people here.

Personally it has been about 4 years since I purchased an album. All my CDs were stolen from my truck in 2002 and I haven't bought one since. I have all electronic and I purchase by the song. I can pay $0.99 for a song I like instead of $15 for an album. Simple economics.

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Hilarity

Who downloads box office shit? No gore, no sex, all PG-13 rubbish. Random example, Bloodfist 1-8 is better than 95% of the action films that came out of Hollyrubbish in the past five years. The same with R rated CG shit. Glossy digital rubbish with no squibs. Then of course, who cares about the cinema? After the CAM/TS, there is the R5 and/or SCR so you'll see the junk anyway even if you want to see pansy shit. Better yet, no crowds or overpriced "food", and a vastly cheaper price.

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JBaz

I enjoy the nice movie going experience once in a while for movies I like, even if I've seen it before. Nothing like watching larger than life video on a huge screen with great audio, no matter how much my 1080p projector and 1500w sound system tries to be. And that's what they need to sell movies as... as an experience.

Plus it helps if Hollywood made good movies too instead of all of the crappy remakes.

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Tenhawk

Of course it doesn't hurt their sales. People don't download movie releases in order to avoid paying for the movies, they download movies releases for one of a few other reasons.

Hardcore pirates are obsessive collectors, they download everything. Their downloads have no impact on what they buy.

Some people, quite a few, download what they CANNOT access locally. I haven't seen a movie in a theatre in over a decade, this is not by choice it's because there are no theatres within 7 hours of my home. I don't care how good a movie is, I'm not spending 14 hours driving and riding a ferry to see it.

Of the rest, most download items on a whim... things that, unless they were priced into the impulse buy category, would never have been bought either.

Theatres are not in threat by downloads simply because people who go to a theatre go for the experience, not the movie. You go for the popcorn, the friends, big screen and perfect sound setup... etc

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kevaskous

+1

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wikimouse

+1 is right!

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BSLSK05

So, what this is basically saying is that a groupe of people have found out what Switzerland has known for years. Sad.

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Ghok

The correlation I usually see is that the movies that make the most money also have the most downloads. Surprise surprise.

I occasionally download movies, but it's always an older title, and I do it out of convenience. Not everything is available for legal streaming.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Qkyt1wXNlI <- this is a good link making the rounds lately.

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stige

great link. awesome analogy. it doesn't give cart blanche to just go steal one of everything you feel entitled to but it really is an awesome perspective...

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AntonioGarrison

They will say this study is fraudulent and supports piracy. Beware.

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alabasterdragon

It is NOT piracy that is hurting the movie industry! What is hurting the movie industry is the non-stop flow of crap! Crappy movies and pricing is what stops a lot of ticket sales. I only go to the cinema about one or twice a year. Most of the time it is far cheaper to by the bluray and watch it on my home theater system, where I can pause for bathroom breaks. Even better, I don't have to almost go to jail for choking out some teenager in a group of them, when they won't shut up or put their dang cell phones away during the movie.

I would be much more willing to go to the cinema and pay the prices if there were more movie worth watching in them. Hollywood seems to be at the bottom of their creative barrel. Most movies now seem to be a string of violence-sex-violence-sex-violence, with no plot or sense of storyline. They are more like cheap direct to video porno snuff films disguised as "blockbuster" movies. Certainly nothing I would think of taking my kids to. The other major choice is some loony whack-o crap pushing some agenda like global warming.

Hollywood we are sick of the crap! Give us GOOD stuff that WE want and maybe you won't lose so much money. Or keep giving us the crap you want us to have and go broke.

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vrmlbasic

Amen to that! The last movie I saw at the theater was the AWFUL "Girl with the Dragon Tattoo", a mystery movie built on a painfully thin mystery and the movie tries to throw "edgy" sexual encounters at the viewer to distract him from the abhorrent plot.

The movie also turned Daniel Craig into the "Bond Girl", and not the semi-competent newer Bond girl, but the old-school "damsel in distress" Bond girl.

As a heads-up, the actual "girl with the dragon tattoo" is just an unattractive woman inserted for the sex scenes. She actually does nothing to really advance the plot; every part of the mystery that she "solves" has either already been solved by Daniel Craig or was superfluous. As this is MaximumPC, I expect everyone here would be offended by the ridiculous depiction of "computer hacking" therein.

I want my money back.

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praetor_alpha

Or you can just not watch movies.

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Hey.That_Dude

PLUS!
If you release the movie and people go see it in theaters then they will buy popcorn/drinks/etc. and then the theaters will get more revenues... and so on and so forth, furthering the economic restoration... blah blah. I don't really need to say this do i?

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

If I want to see a movie, I pay to go see the movie. Otherwise, I wait until it's on video. I think it's pretty lame that you are either so poor you can't pay for a movie ticket or so impatient you can't wait for most films to appear for rental.

I see the appeal in downloading TV episodes. You might have missed a show. It may be a year before a season appears on video. But, if you like the show enough, you probably want to buy the commercial videos when they finally come online, anyway.

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CaptainFabulous

Or maybe you just refuse to feed the beast, hoping that it will someday wither and die.

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compro01

Someday perhaps, but currently it appears to be trashing around in hunger and attempting to eat anything in reach and causing some rather nasty wounds to many things.

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Inxanity

@CaptainFabulous Yes, and then there will be no movies for you all to torrent. Great strategy!

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