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Online movie piracy increased by 385% worldwide after the nominees for this year’s Academy Awards ceremony were announced, a report has shown.
The figures, revealed ahead of the 87th Academy Awards (also known as the Oscars), which took place yesterday (February 22), were published in a report by Irdeto, which calls itself a media protection company.
The statistics applied to BitTorrent-based piracy of films nominated for awards in the Oscars’ Best Picture category and those whose actors or directors were nominated for Best Director, Best Actor and Best Actress.
Irdeto monitored illegal downloads of movies in the US and 200 other countries in the week before the Oscar nominees were announced on January 15, before comparing them with those in the week after that date. It used crawlers that use tracking software to identify users and files on the BitTorrent peer-to-peer network.
The company found that movie piracy jumped after the nominations were announced in the US, with increased interest from abroad. The total increase was 385%.
According to the company, Gone Girl was the most pirated film before the nominations were announced, but then American Sniper, one of the nominees for Best Picture, took the lead after January 15. The film, starring Bradley Cooper, clocked up 1,389,819 views worldwide in the period between January 15 and February 14 (the period that these figures applied to).
In the week after January 15, Selma, a historical drama about civil rights activist Martin Luther King, saw the largest percentage increase in online illegal views—more than 1,032%—compared with the week before, while American Sniper went up by 230%.
Irdeto said that the films were pirated from different formats, including Blu-ray discs, DVDs and camcorders, before being uploaded. It noted that 31% of the total illegal downloads tracked between January 15 and February 14 were made from ‘Hollywood screeners’—preview DVDs or Blu-rays given to film critics, voters on the awards and other film industry professionals.
The company also noted that the bulk of the illegal views were of films that were not yet available for home purchase. Irdeto said that not every illegal download can be considered a lost sale, though it estimated that more than $40 million could have been made if the pirated films were made available to consumers for home purchase.
Rory O’Connor, Irdeto’s vice president of services, said the data showed that there is “significant demand for new movies to be available earlier, in more geographies and over more platforms.
“In the world of internet re-distribution, the window between theatrical release and worldwide market availability may simply be too long, leaving room for pirates to take advantage and offer consumers alternative means of instant gratification. Today’s consumers simply refuse to wait to access these movies through legitimate services,” he added.
This story was first reported on WIPR and can be viewed here.
piracy, online piracy, film and television, BitTorrent, Oscars, Irdeto