The movie industry is doing all it can to convince the lawmakers that online piracy is destroying its market, and the government should deploy more stringent laws giving the content owners near absolute power to do whatever they want. But, to what lengths this claims are correct. Is piracy really taking the cut from the movie industry?
Last year (2012), the U.S. box office saw more than $10 billion dollar in ticket sales (total is estimated to be $10.8 billion). This is a record setting performance for the movie industry. Even if the sales figures are adjusted for inflation, it is significantly higher than 2011’s ticket sales. And, all this is achieved without an increase in ticket price.
You might be thinking, the performance increase might be the result of movie industry’s all out war on online piracy. A research study shows otherwise. This German-led study shows that MegaUpload shutdown impacted negatively on ticket sales.
A different study led by U.S. researchers showed that loss to piracy is mainly driven by longer release windows in the international market. You should also remember that international gross sales nearly tripled between 2001 to 2011, the same period when file sharing took off.
However, I am not saying that piracy doesn’t possess any risk for the movie industry. As researchers have pointed out, late entry of films in the foreign markets can hamper the overall sales of movies. High quality DVD and Blu-ray prints available online, can also hamper the post-release disc sales.