June 20, 2006


A new MPA study on piracy has been releasedYet another MPA study on piracy has been released, this one a two year study and I have a lot of questions. The first is, what the heck does this mean:

"The study was conducted over 18 months in 22 countries. It is based on consumer demand as opposed to previous assessments which were calculated by calculating losses based on DVD seizures."

So how do you base a study on consumer demand? The study gives no clues as to its methodology, we just have to take it on faith.

It's interesting that the MPA will continue to fight piracy in China when according to their own study it's nothing compared to other countries. Although piracy accounts for 97% of the Chinese market (based on consumer demand?) China caused only $565 million in losses to MPA members. Let's look at the losses caused by other countries:

US - $2.5 billion
UK - $787 million
France - $604 million
Mexico - $954 million

They do say that China caused $2.1 billion in losses to non-MPA members, but I'm not sure how they get this number. They also go on to show that the most revenues are lost to piracy in Mexico, the UK, France, Russia and Spain, with China coming in sixth.

But, as we all know, these numbers regarding China are completely bogus anyways. Because most MPAA member movies can't be sold in China so they have no loss. China only allows 20 foreign films to be imported each year, and usually 14 - 16 of these are from MPAA members. So what the MPA is talking about in this report isn't "profits lost to pirates in China" but "profits lost to closed markets in China".

My question is, why are news sites reporting these numbers and not looking beyond the press release to what they really say?

June 20, 2006 at 11:17 AM in News | Permalink


grady, you are the media. just by making those comments on the real meaning of the study on a variety-influenced blog, you are educating people like me and seeing beyond the press release. don't despair. people are more attuned to industry-bs nowadays anyway.

all this reminds me of the late 1970's when the music industry was up in arms over the Walkman "they are taping records and not buying them!"

every generation has some industry freakout over piracy.

Posted by: glenn | Jun 20, 2006 11:57:31 AM

Golly-willikers! The MPA would never cook survey numbers to make a point. Now if you'll excuse me I have to go email my bank account information to a Nigerian Prince I'm going to help out.

Posted by: Rich Drees | Jun 20, 2006 12:30:46 PM

Good point about the limitations placed by China upon foreign film importations.

I think the press release confirms the mainstream media's view of China as a hotbed of piracy -- and it's a great headline: "Chinese movie-watchers are pirates." But it ignores the limited economic realities for the vast majority of China's citizens.

Posted by: Peter Martin | Jun 20, 2006 2:51:17 PM

Knowing a little about statistics, I've always thought MPA's numbers regarding piracy were suspect. Extrapolating numbers from assumptions based on seizures as a proxy for consumer demands was faulty to begin with, and I hadnt even considered the impact of movie import limits in China.

Your numbers regarding absolute vs. percentage losses were very enlightening. Did you get those figures from the MPA as well?

Who knew I would learn more from your little blog regarding film piracy than all the articles i've seen in the NYTimes.

Kaijushakedown, less filling, tastes great, and educational...

Posted by: Buma | Jun 21, 2006 8:05:00 AM

We try hard to deliver low calorie, high protein infotainment with every post.

Yep - all the numbers and statistics in this post come from the MPAA's recent study that's linked to up above.

Posted by: Grady Hendrix | Jun 21, 2006 10:53:34 AM

I don't think it's an either/or situation regarding China's closed markets and its pirates. Depending on your perspective, the two culprits are intertwined in the same system. Having pirated copies of in-demand foreign films (beyond the 20/year allowed by the government) available surely helps keep potential critics of the policy within the country from being as vocal as they would be if they simply couldn't see the films at all.

Posted by: Frisco Brian | Jun 22, 2006 2:23:43 PM

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