February 10, 2012, 1:37 PM —
Standing in line at the local movie theater to pay twice the reasonable rate for a seat and 10 times too much for popcorn you probably figured this out already: .
But U.S. movie studios are losing little, if any, money to content pirates in this country, and already have full control of the means to reduce or eliminate the 7 percent of box-office receipts they lose on some movies in overseas markets, according to an economic study from researchers at the Univ. of Minnesota and Wellesley College. ( via TorrentFreak)
In a study called Reel Piracy: The Effect of Online Film Piracy on International Box Office Sales , economists Brett Danaher and Joel Waldfogel compared box office receipts to BitTorrent traffic in specific national markets to find out how big an impact content piracy really carries.
They found that, while some countries have much higher rates of BitTorrent downloads of illegal files than others, it's not the amount of piracy or even the type of movie that indicates a particular movie is going to be heavily pirated.
The biggest factor is the delay between the time the movie opens in the U.S. and when it opens in theaters overseas.
"We find that longer release windows are associated with decreased box office returns, even after controlling for film and country fixed effects," the two wrote in the report, which was published on the Social Science Research Network. "This relationship is much stronger in contexts where piracy is more prevalent: after BitTorrent’s adoption and in heavily pirated genres."
Within the U.S. there was no discernible drop in box-office receipts based on the existence of BitTorrent and/or content pirates the two found.
Basically that means people who would download and watch an illegal copy of a movie weren't going to buy a ticket to watch it at a movie theater anyway, at least in the U.S.
Overseas, where the delay between the peak of hype in U.S. media about a particular movie and the time it shows up in local theaters can be weeks or months long, more people are willing to download and watch illegal copies rather than wait until Hollywood gets around to sending out copies for them.
That doesn't mean content piracy isn't a problem – in movies, music and software.
It also doesn't mean the 7 percent studios lose on box office is the total potential loss. Movies released by U.S. companies make, on average, more money overseas than within the U.S. and can double their total box-office take with aftermarket showings on premium-paid cable channels, basic cable, pay-per-view, DVD and other sales that take place long after the big first-weekend box-office bonanza.