July 8, 2004 3:18 PM PDT

Stolen a film? MPAA wants to know

One in four people online has illegally downloaded a feature film--and it's cutting into box-office and DVD sales, the Motion Picture Association of America said in a study released Thursday.

A survey of 3,600 Internet users in eight countries showed that as many as 50 percent had downloaded copyrighted content in the last year. Of those people who have downloaded films, 17 percent said they are going to the movies less often, and 26 percent said they bought fewer DVDs, according to online researcher OTX, which conducted the study in partnership with the MPAA.

The trade group did not have box-office sales figures for 2004. But global movie admissions were down by 4 percent in 2003 to about 1.57 billion, compared with 1.64 billion in 2002, according to research provided by the MPAA.

Still, from 1993 to 2004, admissions have gone up 27 percent, by 330 million, and DVD sales and rentals have shot up by 50 percent from 2002 to 2003, the research showed.

The primary concern, the MPAA said, is as broadband Internet connections spread faster to countries around the world, more people will take to illegal downloading. For example, an estimated 98 percent of South Korea's population uses broadband. Nearly 60 percent of the population has reportedly downloaded movies, and one in three say they go to the box office less often, according to the survey.

"It's not hard to imagine as other countries become increasingly broadband based we'll see more of this happen," said Matthew Grossman, a spokesman for the MPAA.

There are approximately 29.2 million broadband households in the United States, according to market researcher The Yankee Group.

Also of concern is consumers' attitudes. The study found that 69 percent of those surveyed don't believe downloading movies is a major concern in today's society. Little more than half of people who have already downloaded films online expect to continue to do so, and 17 percent who don't already do it, plan to. Also, 38 percent of those surveyed said it was OK to download a film before it's released in theaters.

For this reason, the MPAA has launched a worldwide campaign to monitor online film-downloading more closely and educate people on the implications of pirating movies. It has created movie trailers to warn people against illegal downloading and making pirated copies of films, among other tactics.

The study was conducted with residents of Australia, France, Germany, Italy, Korea, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

10 comments

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Effect, no cause.
"Of those people who have downloaded films, 17 percent said they are going to the movies less often..." The assumption here is that these people don't go to the movies because they can get the films for free. I wonder if they download films because they don't have time to go see the movie while it is in general release.
Posted by Not Bugged (195 comments )
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I don't go to the movies or buy DVDs
but it's not because I'm downloading them. I don't even use the P2P software they demonize.

I don't go to the movies because the ticket prices are through the roof. Why spend $10/person to go see a guy in leotards jumping around when I can just wait for it to come to cable 6 months from now? Pardon me if I don't shed a tear for the MPAA, which just announced record receipts for the month of June.

I don't buy DVDs because I don't see any worth *owning*. Sure, there are good movies out there, but I can always rent them, or use pay-per view.
Posted by rdean (119 comments )
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A case of poor statistics
1. 3600 users worldwide is far too small to be statistically significant.

2. Broadband users were targeted heavily, i.e. early adopters

3. Korean respondents threw the entire study out of whack. Nice to see news.com totally ignore that fact.
Posted by (52 comments )
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upside?
What about the upside of broadband connection? I'm sure movie industry only choosing the evidence that support their standing (broadband lead to more piracy). What about the other area/field, such as business? How about the increase in productivity of organizations/companies due to the use of broadband.

What about the good effect of piracy? Such as finding pirated bad quality movie, instead of satisfied with the quality, we actually interested in seeing the movie again with high quality picture (going to the theater, buying the dvd version, etc). I'm sure there are people out there who actually go to see the movie again after seeing the pirated version.

Other argument (i'm sure someone already said this): Suppose by downloading movies, the movie industry 'loss' some money due to the loss of opportunity of those people not watching the movies in theaters; what if they don't have the money to watch the movie in theaters? Will not downloading the movies result in more money, because they can't go to the theaters anyway?

Just a thought.....
Posted by common_mann (9 comments )
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Didn't they ask why?
I've said it once, and I'll say it again, I have no problem with the film industry trying to protect there property. Provided they don't punish their customers by, say, putting red dots in the middle of the screen. Or taking it as far as the record association.

I couldn't comment on the validity of this survey, but I'm curious of if they asked why people are downloading movies? I mean the quality is inferior and it's often more enjoyable to watch a blockbuster on the big screen with big sound.

I know people who have copies of downloaded movies because it's far too expensive to pay for 2 adults and 3 kids.

I also know people download movies because there is often many many months between the US release and Australian release. We won't see Bad Santa until Dec 2004. I saw the trailer for Hellboy when watching Spiderman 2. I forgot that hadn't made it to our shores yet. I waited a 16 months after it was release on DVD in the US to see Donnie Darko on DVD here. And I had to wait a few more months before I could buy it.

And then there is censorship. A number of foreign films are deamed unsuitable for Australian adults to ever see.

Is it the film industries own actions that are making piracy more attractive?
Posted by (14 comments )
Reply Link Flag
price
the price has gone to high 8.00 to 9.00 ahead flamly of 4 is 36.00 to get in and popcorn and drink each is 6.00 = 60.00 that is to much
Posted by (1 comment )
Link Flag
I'm confused.
I'm confused about this whole situation and I need the industry to explain something. I can tape a movie from pay TV or network TV or any other aerial, satellite or cable broadcast source but I can't download the same movie from the internet? Why is that a concern for the industry? Are they telling me that, yes I can have the movie from TV but I'm doing something illegal if I get the same movie from the internet? Tell me why and don't try to tell me that it doesn't create revenue. They make enough revenue selling tickets at the theatre. If the ticket prices were REASONABLE , more people would go but until that happens I'll choose a cheaper medium. DO YOU NOW UNDERSTAND?
Posted by (1 comment )
Reply Link Flag
Here's an idea
In my opinion the movie business is in a "Catch 22" situation. They raise prices at the theaters because no one is going to the movies, because everyone is downloading movies off the net. Well, one of the main reasons people are downloading movies is because it's cheaper than taking a date, their family or even themselves.

You want people to stop downloading (or atleast cut back on it) and return to the theaters: lower the ticket prices...if more people could afford to go to the movies they would. Everyone knows that the theater makes all their money on the concessions anyway.

And yes I know the arguement that movies are more expensive to produce so the studios charge the theaters more which results in higher ticket prices, but when you take into consideration the profits coming from all the areas (tickets sales, DVD sales, cable, network, foreign theater & video etc.) they will more than make up for it in the long run. But the studios don't think that way. Everything has to have the "record first weekend numbers"....well that comes down to the movie content and that's a whole other issue.
Posted by Obmulap (5 comments )
Reply Link Flag
They always what more
Hollywood just like many businesses can't stand making the same amount of cash with every movie. if they make 50 million on one movies the next movie would have to be 51 million to be successful for them.

Funny thing about it is my income hasn't gotten over 18k/yr in the 10 years I have worked. my first job I made 15k/yr now at 18k/year.

with hollywood enflation rate, ticket prices $8/$9 bucks, snacks oh god $6 popcorn $6 coke. $3 candy.

I had too stop going to the movies along time ago, I think it has been 4 years since I been. I just rent them at my local Hastings for $2.
Posted by simcity1976 (136 comments )
Reply Link Flag
The Real Problem
is that both the Motion Picture and Music industries are
aggressive, predatory monolopies and people are fed up with
being ripped off by them. The consumer is not protected from
this behavior by the government. Instead the government gives
comfort to these industries. Music CD prices are controlled by
the industry, not by competition. If you want a Movie DVD you
have to choose either Wide Screen or Full Screen instead of a
single DVD coded for either. Just a couple of examples. They are
also purveyors of filth. The lack of integrity on the part of these
industries contributes heavily to the attitude of those who are
willing to download illegal copies of music or movies. I do not
pirate music or movies but I have no sympathy for these bloated,
greedy industries.
Posted by (1 comment )
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