Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Missing The Point

CNN, via Entertainment Weekly, has a story up today detailing's list of the all-time top 10 most pirated movies, to contrast with Netflix's list of the all-time top 10 most rented movies through their service.  There's not a whole lot that they can really do with this story, but the author gamely tries to pad it out by using the lists to draw a conclusion about Americans' movie tastes as a whole, and pirates' taste as a subset, and comes up with this:

Apparently Netflix users favor Oscar bait while Internet thieves go for tentpole popcorn movies, with the Venn Diagram overlap between those two strangely being Leonardo DiCaprio.
 There probably is a certain amount of truth to this; after all, your average internet pirate is demographically younger and more male than the general population, and this is the group that the big-budget action flicks are after as an audience.  But to brush this off as the only cause is to miss another point: a much higher percentage of these "Oscar-bait" films are or have been available on Netflix Instant Play for quite a while than the "tentpole popcorn movies".  Of the top 10 most pirated titles, the only one to ever have been available on Netflix Instant was Kick-Ass, and that wasn't made available until nearly a year after its DVD release.  This could be coincidence...or it could not be.  In this day and age, people want convenience, and it's more than possible that some of the non-overlap is due to the fact that some people will take to BitTorrent to get their hands on titles that aren't available to stream to their TVs, via internet or on-demand TV.  It's a simple equation, studio execs: Greater streaming availability at a reasonable price = less piracy of your company's titles = bigger sacks with dollar signs on them crammed into the trunks of your Audis.

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