Same Study, Completely Opposite Interpretations On Downloadable Movies

from the whoa dept

This isn’t the first time that I’ve seen the same study interpreted completely differently by two different reporters. However, I think it is the first time that I’ve seen the same study interpreted in completely opposite ways by the same news organization. We’re not talking about opinion pieces, either, but two supposedly factual pieces written about the same study concerning movie downloads. Both are written for the Guardian in the UK, but make completely opposite points. The first one says that the movie industry is going to “pay dearly for piracy” online. Meanwhile, the other one says that “Hollywood has little to fear from internet piracy”. Yes. They are both talking about the same exact study from Informa Media Group, and both of these articles appear on the same Guardian site. The study basically says that there’s plenty of money to be made in online movie downloads, but that there will be some loss due to “piracy”. No matter which interpretation of the study you prefer, I think the overall study is flawed. Beyond using the typical “extrapolate and project” method of figuring out where online movies are headed, the study does little to nothing to determine if someone downloading a free movie uses that experience to decide whether or not to go out and see the movie in the theater and/or buy the full DVD themselves (to get the extra features and such). It assumes, again, that the static movie is what people are buying, rather than the actual social experience of “going out to the movies”, in which case a download is a promotion for the movie, itself. The study also makes a number of random assumptions, saying that 50% of downloaded movies will result in a lost sale of $3.50. It doesn’t say how they came up with either number, and both can easily be argued.

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