Economist examines empirical evidence of file-sharing on box-office revenue


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Slightly off topic rant ( I haven’t had the time to peruse the lengthy study yet)

Tom Cruise was paid $20,000,000 for his acting in Oblivion. 15 months later I’m still interested in seeing Cruise’s ship (not the movie itself), but the only options I have to watch it are through premium cable subscriptions or $9.99 to “buy” a cloud copy.

The greed and reliance upon exclusive distribution channels is persuading me to not even want to rent it when that option finally becomes available.


Evidence? Empirical? Why do you hate the free market?


Somehow I was reminded of this SMBC comic, “Felix The happiest man on earth”

I would hope that I wouldn’t have to comment, that you or other people could draw the parallels I see for themselves, but that’s just lazy.

But its the same thing for pay to play games, most people won’t pay, but if you hook some whales in your game you’re golden.
So it is with just about everything else, the economy, education, entertainment.
< /tinfoilhat >

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Quite right, too. If you don’t like what Hollywood makes or how they distribute, don’t give them money. Doesn’t mean doing anything illegal - just withhold, maybe read a good book.

I’m reading “One Summer America 1927” by Bill Bryson - it’s great!

Oblivion? Until you reminded me, I’d cast it into mental oblivion.

Unfortunately box office numbers aren’t the relevant numbers to be looking at. You wouldn’t expect piracy to have a huge impact on the box office, since seeing it in the theater and seeing it on the computer/television screen are either a) dissimilar enough experiences that there’s no connection, or b) similar enough experiences that indicate the viewer was unlikely to see it theaters anyways. The meaningful numbers would be the various forms of home video - DVD/BlueRay, video-on-demand, rentals, streaming, broadcast revenue, etc. Unfortunately that is probably an impossible analysis due to complexity and lack of data. Since theatrical releases usually essentially function as a loss-leader (marketing costs usually exceed revenue) for home video, where Hollywood make the vast majority of their actually money (and usually begin to see actual profit), looking just at box office doesn’t tell you anything about whether piracy impacts profits.
It would be more useful to look at, for example, video games where there is only revenue from initial sales.


“Computer screen”? You do know downloaded files can be played on a big-screen TV set, right? Really the comparison is between a 72" set and a multiplex screen seem from the back third of the theatre.


I feel like everyone who was paying attention and not employed by various parts of big content knew this already, and everybody else is unlikely to be convinced. Still, I guess if the evidence just keeps piling up it could get through to some of the folks who are ignorant rather than biased.

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Yeah, this is great and all, but unfortunately there simply isn’t enough respect for facts and evidence outside the sphere of folks interested in science…

If this doesn’t change soonish, never mind the IP debate, we’re existentially doomed.

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In which case the television is being used as a screen for a computer. I just was trying to differentiate it from movie screens. If it’s that distracting, I’ll edit my post to clarify.
My first point was that if people have sufficiently big screens at home that they replace the theater experience (though most of us don’t remotely have anything like 72" screens), they’re not going to see it in theaters and the piracy is undermining home video rather than box office returns; if they don’t have big screens, then you also wouldn’t expect watching a pirated copy at home to compete with seeing the film in the theater.

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