One Third of You Are DVD Movie Pirates

A recently published study on the DVD movie copying habits of consumers in the U.S. and U.K. finds that roughly one third of the survey respondents admit to copying commercial DVDs within the last six months. The survey was conducted by Futuresource Consulting and was sponsored by Macrovision--a company that has a vested financial stake in convincing DVD distributors that they are losing revenue by people making copies of discs.

The demographic group that is most likely be a DVD copier is 18 to 24-year old males. Curiously, 36 percent of U.K. respondents admitted to copying DVDs, while only 32 percent of U.S. respondents 'fessed up. Either the Brits believe stronger in their right to copy or perhaps they are just a more honest lot. Unfortunately, the public version of the study does not discuss how reliable the respondents' answers were.

The U.K. group copied mostly movies (76 percent), but the frequency of TV shows they've copied in 2008 (61 percent) increased significantly since 2007 (up from 42 percent). U.S. respondents admitted to copying an average of 11.9 titles in the last six months; while the U.K. group copied of average of 12.8 titles.

As far as new releases are concerned, the majority of those making copies of DVD are actually making copies of discs that they own: 

Percentage of respondents copying new releases
From legitimately owned discs: 
U.S.: 62%
U.K.: 49%

A significant number of respondents, however, admitted to making copies of discs that they did not own:

From rented discs:
U.S.: 38% 
U.K.: 30%

From borrowed discs:
U.S.: 38%
U.K.: 28%

From purchased discs that are/could be pirated discs:
U.S.: 16%
U.K.: 11%

From copied discs:
U.S.: 13% 
U.K.: 18%

Most germane to the point that the study was trying to make, however, was how people responded when asked if they would have bought the discs had they not been able to copy them. This is how people responded:

Percentage of respondents who would buy the discs if they couldn't copy them:

All of the titles:
U.S.: 29%
U.K.: 25%

Most of the titles:
U.S.: 18%
U.K.: 8%

Some of the titles:
U.S.: 16%
U.K.: 12%

A few of the titles:
U.S.: 14%
U.K.: 18%

None of these titles:
U.S.: 23%
U.K.: 37%

The study draws this conclusion from the data:

"If they had not been able to make copies of DVDs, 63% of respondents in the UK and 77% in the USA would have purchased all, some or at least a few of the titles; clearly indicating the scale of the lost revenues to the home video industry from home copying."

While the statement is technically accurate, we don't agree with the implication that 63 percent of U.K. respondents and 77 percent of U.S. respondents would have bought a disc they couldn't copy. Instead of adding the percentages, we feel that the numbers should have been averaged or calculated using a geometric mean. By averaging the results, we calculate that 19.3 percent of U.S. respondents and 15.8 percent of U.K. respondents would have purchased discs they couldn't copy. 

This doesn't change the fact that DVD distributors are losing revenue from DVD movie copying, but the loss is no where near as great as the conclusion of the study wants us to believe:

"The vast majority of these copiers admit they would purchase at least some of the titles on DVD if they had not been able to copy them -- clearly indicating the significant levels of lost revenue due to home copying."

Do you agree with the official summary's interpretation of the data or with ours? Lets us know in the comments section below.
Tags:  DVD, Movie, Ovi, pirate, rates, pirates, One, Pi, IE, AR
3vi1 6 years ago
Did you factor in that some people would stop buying it if they couldn't copy it for purposes of format shifting to their multiple devices?

Pirates are *always* going to be able to break your protection. Given a choice between a version that will play on your DVD player, PC, IPod, and PSP.. vs. a DRM'd version that only works on your DVD player and a Windows PC (after you pay for DVD player software)... Protections actually manufacture some level of pirates that would have been customers.

There's also a smaller percentage of people that will see part of it (i.e. an episode of a series) on the internet, and like it so much that they go out and buy the entire season on DVD. In that case, the pirates actually give you free advertising - and it's only a loss if your product sucks.

adamplays 6 years ago

you pretty much said it all right there....just wish producers would FINALLY catch on. it seems the music biz is getting there with their recent forays into possible free downloads and such...


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