MPAA's Turn To Mislead With Statistics

from the let's-look-at-this-carefully... dept

Just a day after the BSA came out with their misleading report on software "piracy", the MPAA needed to follow suit by releasing their own misleading study on the impact of movie downloads. On the numerical side, this is really a survey, so they're not making up numbers... just conclusions. They found that 50% of people they surveyed claimed to have downloaded "copyrighted content" last year. First off, that's a ridiculous question. We've all downloaded copyrighted content. If you visit just about any website you've downloaded "copyrighted content." All text in the US is automatically given a copyright upon being written, and by visiting the page you're "downloading" that copyrighted content. In other words, the other 50% of people who claimed they hadn't downloaded copyrighted content simply don't realize they have. Obviously, the study is more focused on whether or not people downloaded unauthorized copyrighted content. For that, the market is mostly in music, but the MPAA doesn't break out the percentage who only downloaded movies because that would show not too many people had. Instead, they lump in music and movies to make this seem like a bigger problem. Then, the real tricks start. They claim that, of those who downloaded movies, 17% claim they went to fewer movies and 26% claim they bought fewer DVDs. Thus, in their minds, such unauthorized downloading is clearly bad for the industry. Period. End of study. End of thought process. Except they forget that this also means 83% are saying even though they download they're not going to fewer movies, and it's a good bet that plenty are seeing more movies. As we've pointed out plenty of times in the past, going to the movies is often seen as a social experience, and many people downloading movies are doing it either to check it out or because they're huge fans -- not to avoid paying to see it. Is it likely that some people are avoiding paying for movies? Absolutely, but that's not the only impact, and the amount of money the movie industry has been bringing in lately suggests they're doing just fine. If the movie industry had any analytical ability whatsoever, they'd stop worrying so much about downloads, and work on making the social movie going experience more enjoyable, to make it so people wanted to go out and experience the movie in the theater even when the movie was available for less elsewhere.

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  1. identicon
    Mikester, 9 Jul 2004 @ 9:52am

    Why?...

    Personally, I've only ever downloaded a movie once and that was about three years ago - and I never did watch it. Who wants to sit passively at their computer desk for 2+ hours?
    Yet I very rarely ever go to the theater any more. Why? Because it's way to frickin' expensive. Ticket prices have sky-rocketed over the past few years yet the MPAA believes that I'm not going because I'm downloading. It especially bugs be when I hear that just broke the record for most money (on opening day, over the weekend, on a Tuesday afternoon, etc.) - no kidding! It's 12 bucks to go see a movie today when it was only 6 four years ago. It's pretty easy to break records at this pace.

    We also almost never buy movies and rarely rent them (from a store) since we got digital cable, rather we'll order a pay-per view every now and then (haven't tried the on-demand service yet).

    OK, I'll get off the soapbox now ;)

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