Yet Another Study: 'Pirates' Are Actually Industry's Best Customers

from the again-and-again-and-again dept

We've already seen a bunch of nearly identical studies, but it's worth pointing out that there's yet another study coming out this week that says that those involved in file sharing also tend to be the best customers of the entertainment industry. Now, it's worth taking the study with at least some grains of salt, given that it was funded by Vuze, a company trying to sell licensed videos via BitTorrent and has had trouble getting content companies to sign on. However, given how many other studies have said the same thing, can we finally put to rest the idea that those who file share "aren't customers" as many in the entertainment industry insist? They do tend to be customers, and frequent ones as multiple studies have now shown. The issue is just that they also file share, meaning many file share, in part, to find out what's worth buying. So the focus should be (once again) on giving them reasons to buy rather than trying to stomp out file sharing.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 11:49am

    "it was funded by Vuze, a company trying to sell licensed videos via BitTorrent"

    This just goes to show that studies show what the researchers wanted them to show before they were conducted.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 11:49am

    Re:

    (that includes pro RIAA and MPAA studies as well).

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 11:54am

    "They buy 34% more movie tickets, purchase 34% more DVDs and rent 24% more movies than the average Internet user."

    Out of 1200 "average" internet users, 770 just happened to use Vuse? The other 430 must have been someone granny and the guy down the road that only uses the net to watch porn.

    How did they establish the average internet user?

    This study makes the Conference Board of Canada look honest.

     

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  4.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 11:54am

    Isn't Vuze also what Azureus turned into?

     

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  5.  
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    VX, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 12:04pm

    Anecdotal Evidence

    I have a friend who pirates movies all the time. He also owns over 1000 DVDs.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 12:07pm

    Re:

    Perhaps I should conduct a study to prove this.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 12:08pm

    I fail to see how they're the best customers - if you download to preview something and it's crap, you're certainly not going to buy it, are you.

     

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  8.  
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    VX, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 12:10pm

    Re: 7

    Some people like crappy movies. I have a friend who really likes the movie 'Crank'. I rest my case.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 12:17pm

    Re:8

    I'd just go download the DVD rip or the full DVD once it's out then - but that's me. I've spent ungodly amounts of money on movies and music that were touted as "great, best picture, superb" and so forth, only to end up with a huge collection of dvd-sized decorative coasters (not to mention Sony, et al who had to pay fines for faking their own movie reviews). I think the majority do whatever they can do to get it for free - perio.

     

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  10.  
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    Rob, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 12:21pm

    I know I am at the very least anecdotal evidence of this -- I used to use Limewire all the time, and would download all sort of new stuff, check it out, and then go to the store and buy what I liked. I was buying at least 3 CDs a week, and was obviously a huge source of income for the record companies. Shortly thereafter, I got a cease and desist from the RIAA, and have since have not bought a single RIAA associated record. Granted, I had additional reason to want to boycott, but if my means of filesharing were taken away in any other manner, my record purchasing would have slowed way down in any case.

    I think file sharers such as myself scare the record industry because it keeps them honest, I can hear how much good music there is out there and only choose to buy the good quality stuff that takes time and energy and love to produce. They don't want this. They want you to hear as little music as possible, so you will not know any better when you buy the latest solid gold turd they want to shove down your throat. A Britney Spears record is a prepackaged product and is easy to churn out from the cesspool that is the modern day recording industry, whereas a Pink Floyd record takes skill, years of pre-production, talent, thought, love, energy, and is much more difficult to create. The record industry wants you to be happy with Britney Spears, but once you hear enough music you will demand Pink Floyd, and this will hurt their bottom end, so they want to hurt YOUR bottom end instead (dirty pun intended).

     

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  11.  
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    stat_insig (profile), Jun 4th, 2009 @ 12:32pm

    Re:

    Such self serving studies are almost always criticized by this blog. Wonder why this study is being promoted!!!!

     

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  12.  
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    stat_insig (profile), Jun 4th, 2009 @ 12:37pm

    Re: Re:

    ... and in specific to this study, the opposite can also be true. Some people have so much thirst for content that they don't have money to buy all the content they need, and therefore, have to resort to piracy.

     

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  13.  
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    Jan, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 12:39pm

    This is interesting and I also wanted to know if this is real. I know that some of us don’t want to purchase original files because they prefer downloading the file but sometimes those files are not really working so it is still better to get the original copy.

     

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  14.  
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    dev, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 12:56pm

    You mean WERE

    We WERE the best customers, now we are boycotting.

     

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  15.  
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    CommonSense (profile), Jun 4th, 2009 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Re:8

    "I think the majority do whatever they can do to get it for free - perio."

    You might be close...I'd concede that they do whatever they can to sample (hear, see, use, etc..) for free, but that doesn't mean it stops there. A friend of mine will download almost every movie he can find, but if any of them are good enough for him to want to watch repeatedly, he makes it a point to go buy the real DVD.

    Also to be noted, it's only for movies of questionable quality. Wolverine, he wanted NOTHING to do with the leaked copy because he didn't want anything to spoil his theater experience for that one. Pineapple Express, he actually saw that in the theater, AND downloaded it so he could watch it again at home before the DVD came out, THEN BOUGHT THE DVD!

    Anyone that tries to argue that nothing good comes of file sharing/piracy, is clueless.

    Why do you think the movie rental business has done so well historically?? People have been burned by high movie ticket and DVD prices, for crappy movies (and music), for way too long to just accept what the *IAA's are trying to force upon us.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 1:28pm

    The real question should be...

    Would you buy a car without test driving it?

     

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  17.  
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    scarr, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: stat_insig

    "Some people have so much thirst for content that they don't have money to buy all the content they need, and therefore, have to resort to piracy."

    If they don't have the money to buy anyway, the industry isn't losing anything there.

    People who buy music will buy more music if they hear more music they like. MTV and radio don't expose people to more than a couple handfuls of new songs a month. Some legal internet radio (like WOXY) does a good job of upping those numbers (and I bought almost a CD a day when I was listening to that station regularly), but that's still dependent on matching the station to the listener. File sharing gives everyone access to (most) anything they want to hear.

    The argument that it stops people buying albums because they'll find out there is only one good song is partially false. Many people like me won't buy a CD until we hear more tracks because we inherently distrust the single to represent the album anymore.

     

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  18.  
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    cvpunk, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 2:19pm

    Re:

    so you're saying the best customers are the one's who will still buy something even though it's shit?

     

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  19.  
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    cvpunk, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 2:22pm

    Re: The real question should be...

    only if I wanted to be a good customer obviously.

     

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  20.  
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    PrometheeFeu (profile), Jun 4th, 2009 @ 2:25pm

    It would be interesting to look at the reason why those who download also purchase. I'm kind of wondering if they might be purchasing because they buy into the whole inherent morality of IP idea. If they do, it is possible that a removal of IP laws would make them poor customers.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 2:31pm

    Until the model of the industry changes.....

    I would agree that people will pirate movies/music and still buy them - I know I'll buy X-Men-Origins when it comes out on DVD and I've seen the workprint that's floating around. But what I'll spend my money on is greatly limited. I can do Netflix for $20/month and watch/rip as much as I want. That's a far better deal for me; that's a little over the cost of one DVD - and I could care less about the digital copy that's so DRM laden I can't do what I want with it. When the industry figures out a consumer-based, cost-effective way of selling to the consumer, downloaders aren't going to be the big revenue-generating source the article makes them out to be. Come up with a price for the material that people are willing to pay instead of pirating it; then it'll change. Look at itunes - I think that speaks volumes. Purchase, download, burn to disk, rip disk to remove DRM (or download drm-free music). That's the closest anyone has come to giving consumers what they want and it's been pretty successful.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re:

    It's promoted because this study happens to support Mike's opinion.

    It's amazing how things look different!

     

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  23.  
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    Ro, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 2:54pm

    People only spend money they have

    I reckon the only reason most people pirate is because they don't have the money to buy due to the fact that it is already spent on CDs, DVDs, food, rent, etc. Sure the industry would rather they stopped paying for food and rent before they start pirating but that is just not realistic. I doubt that people who actually have money to spare are the sorts of people who pirate stuff. If you are paying large amounts into trust funds and playing the stock market the odds are you will pay for your media. If you have already bought all the media you can afford without starving your children then I think it is fair that you download a couple of movies if you have nothing to do on a Friday evening because you can't afford to go out.

     

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  24.  
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    Blatant Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Anecdotal Evidence

    Hey, can he get me a copy, I only use the internets for lolcats and porn.

    If he has any lolcatporn that would be great too.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 3:18pm

    Re: People only spend money they have

    Ro, that might have been the case in the very distant past. In my opinion, free music has become so prevalent that for a certain generation, they have no music budget to move to other places. They long since stopped thinking about buying music, and instead that money goes for other things (not related to music).

    So if you think these people are buying any, I think you are kidding yourself. In fact, the Canadian study that Mike has pointed to in the past actually showed that if you removed all the file traders from the mix, there would be only a negligible change in the net sales. Remember, a significant part of the "internet users" do not buy any music or buy any DVDs. The true comparison would be to active media buyers. In the end, it was shown that the downloaders didn't really buy much more than anyone else, and considering they would be considered the most active fans / music consumers, their buy rate was lower than you would think for the top 20% of music / movie consumers.

     

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  26.  
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    illegalprelude, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 3:59pm

    Im sorry but I dont buy this story one bit at all. I work in a very tech friendly environment, meaning most of the people who all about emulators and torrents and such and I can tell you, those who torrent, dont every buy squat because they can get it for free. I on the other hand, rather buy stuff and all though I know all too well how to torrent, Ill just buy it but I dont buy this story one bit.

     

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  27.  
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    Ryan, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 6:11pm

    Well I don't buy...

    purchasing something, and then not owning it. At least I know if I buy a car I can drive it in mexico and canada. Not so with DVDs. Besides, now-adays, I cant even be certain that a DVD will work in my DVD player.

    Personally, if the RIAA and MIAA got together and sold downloads (using torrents, for speed) I would possibly buy it, because I really dont need to pay for the physical DVD, case, and anti-pirate tax.

    I dont think its stealing, rather, not paying.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 7:17pm

    Re:

    Well, I've been in the tech field since it got started. I regularly download things, and I regularly purchase things (things being software and music). I, however, am tired of being told that after I spent my money I don't own it. If I bought it, its mine, I can do with it whatever I please, and the RIAA and MPAA can go take a flying fuck at a rolling doughnut.

     

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  29.  
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    MrRC, Jun 4th, 2009 @ 11:30pm

    Try before I buy..

    I got sick of buying crap, I try before I buy and if I feel that it is WORTH my money... there's a lot of crap out there with artificial value, honestly not worth the prices they are charging.. then there are some gems..

    I own over 1000 CD's AND DVD's ... some of it's crap (pre-internet) but most of it is quality, because I was able to have a look/listen and see if it was a worthwhile purchase or not.

    Even though I OWN more media than anyone I know personally, and probably a lot more than the average person, I'm still labeled a 'pirate' ...

     

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  30.  
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    maryphilbin (profile), Jun 6th, 2009 @ 7:02pm

    You guys are nuts

    This study is just pure BS, and you guys who are buying something that you can soooo easily get for nothing, have got to be crazy. I don't know anyone, and believe me I have ALOT of friends, who has bought a readily available DVD in the last two years. I bought a couple of classic rare DVD's I've never seen at a horror convention, like "The Magnetic Monster", because I won't ever be able to find that online. But that is it! Why?? Why on earth would are you guys paying even a dollar for something you can easily get in the same crystal clear HD quality for FREE with a simple google search. At any of the ten thousand link sites, you can even watch the movie FREE first, and decide if it's good enough to spend precious time downloading the FREE HD version, to burn on a Blu-ray disc. So in just three simple clicks I can get anything I want FREE! And there are tens of thousands of sites that you can do it at. So why in the world would I spend my precious, hard earned cash on it? So that I can have a box and/or whatever little gimmick they are selling with the box. Please, That's just the most ridiculous thing ever.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 23rd, 2011 @ 7:18am

    Re:

    then again, if they preview something that is good, they are most certainly willing to buy it for better quality, arent they?

     

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