Bittorrent usage rises along with box office sales

in General/International Media/Media Technology

An article published on The Age website speaks of the increase in Australians use of illegal Bittorrent sites. Australians usage ‘grew from 785,000 in April last year to 1,049,000 in April this year, Nielsen says. This is a year-on-year increase of 33.6 per cent.’?As seen previously, ‘industry research has shown that Australians are per capita one of the world’s biggest users’. Legal download sites e.g. the iTunes and Bigpond stores, ‘are not yet making up for the drop in physical disc sales’.

There is no single answer to this problem, but could one issue be the pricing?
When looking at movies and TV shows on iTunes the cost is equivalent to the price of a physical DVD purchase. One key difference with psychical DVD purchases, that I’m yet to see on the iTunes Store is the extras, including behind the scenes, directors commentary, interviews and music videos. Not to mention printing and manufacturing of a physical products is no longer required, when using an online distribution method. Yet the difference in price between physical and downloadable movie prices in minimal.

Studios argue piracy is reducing cinema audiences, yet there was a growth of ‘6 per cent to $946 million in 2008, the highest grossing year on record’. Piracy isn’t a new issue, the introduction of the VCR allowed audience to record programs for later viewing. CD burners allowed music listeners to duplicate CD’s. What the internet has allowed is great choice and even greater access.

One interesting statement came from Michael Lyton, Sony Pictures Entertainment chief executive who said, ‘I’m a guy who doesn’t see anything good having come from the internet. Period’. Lynton went further complaining that ‘the internet had “created this notion that anyone can have whatever they want at any given time … and if you don’t give it to them for free, they’ll steal it”.

Interesting comments, which circulated around the internet very quickly. One blogger comparing Lynton’s comments to the famous quote from H.W. Warner, “Who the hell wants to hear actors talk?”. Lynton afterward wrote an article titled, Guardrails for the Internet: Preserving Creativity Online, which he attempts to his validate his arguments.

Illegal downloads soar as hard times bite

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