Warner Bros. Finally Realizes That 'Pirates' Are Underserved Customers

from the took-you-this-long? dept

We've discussed in the past just how backwards Warner Bros. has been at times in responding to "piracy." So it's a bit amusing that many, many, many years after plenty of us have been pointing this out (and have been told directly by folks at Warner Bros. that we're "full of it") that the company is finally recognizing that those who infringe are really just underserved customers, whom they didn't give a good reason to buy:
Pirates Make Purchases: Few subsist on copyright infringement alone; typical pirates steal in addition to making legitimate entertainment purchases like boxoffice, DVD and even online transactions. Even the most diehard pirates spend some money, though less than more casual infringers. "One of the main things we're doing is looking at why they do things legitimately on certain products and not on others," said [WB's director of business intelligence, Ben] Karakunnel.
Apparently, they just started looking at this data only 18 months ago. Frankly, the fact that they weren't looking at that data seven or eight years ago suggests a dysfunctional management team. What's really silly, of course, is that plenty of folks have made this exact point to people at Warner Bros. and elsewhere for years, and were told that we were just "defending pirates."

Another thing they realized was that in foreign markets, a lot of unauthorized copies are because WB didn't make translated/subtitled versions available quickly enough -- another point that sites like ours have been making for years and which WB just figured out:
In the international markets, illegal WB content in which pirates dub or subtitle themselves is increasingly popular. For one unspecified program Karakunnel used as an example, it wasn't until the third day after its initial airdate that one such pirate-created translated version accounted for 23% of pirated files of that particular program. By day 10, it accounted for 74%.

Said Karakunnel, "If we can get dubbed or subtitled language versions in the first two days, we can beat them to the punch."
Kudos to Warner Bros. for finally figuring this out, but it's pretty amusing that the company thinks this is new, when just a couple years ago it was denying that any of this was possible.

Filed Under: customers, movies, pirates
Companies: warner bros.


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  1. icon
    Wayfinder (profile), 10 Dec 2010 @ 6:36pm

    Smart Warner Brothers

    About time someone woke up. Look it's like this: I don't like the idea of piracy. But I can't honestly say I've never "pirated" anything (can any of us honestly say that? I'd bet a very, very small percentage). Anyone ever been given a music file? You pay for that? Ever copy a rental DVD? Ever downloaded a photo off a copyrighted website?

    But like the article points out, I have also bought a ton of DVDs. I have a 7 whole shelves at home lined with them. So it's not like people just steal everything we can get our hands on.

    One thing I did pirate was a music CD that the company had stopped selling. They still held their "copyright" and legally no one should copy it... but who are they to sit on MUSIC (which IMO belongs to the public the same way that the right to look at at painting in a museum is public). For some company to say "this music is OURS and you can't have it"... that is adulteration of the concept of music.

    Sure, I've paid for music, and would have bought that CD gladly. I tried to. I searched for it. Even went to Ebay. No soap; the people who had it were hanging on to it. Finally a really nice guy left his computer on all night so I could load it across a very slow feed. Bless him for keeping that music alive.

    AVATAR. Let's talk about Avatar. Great movie. Flipping rip-off DVD marketing campaign. No extras? Then a few months later they release the disc they should have released in the first place. Those people are just BEGGING to be pirated. They can EXPECT to be pirated. Why? Because they ticked off the public, that's why.

    Which is possibly what Warner Bros is finally realizing.

    When someone produces a Blu-Ray on a cheap piece of plastic and charges $24.95 for a single movie... when they release a cheap DVD of a movie for $19.95... seems to me the industry is just a little too full of itself.

    Don't even get me STARTED on Micro$oft Windoze. What makes them think any Operating System is worth $300 PER COMPUTER? I'm a professional business consultant. I know ways Windows could be marketed for very, very reasonable fees while still earning Micro$oft billions of dollars. They just don't get it. Because they don't get it... people have strongly resisted moving from XP to W7. Who can afford $1000 to bring 3 computers up to date? No wonder hackers target Windows for piracy.

    Micro$oft, you want to stop the piracy? Re-think your marketing plan. Make it so that people buy Windows because they can't resist what they get for the money. WAKE UP CORPORATE AMERICA.

    Okay, done with my soapboxing. How many years we been telling these people these things?

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