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March 4, 2014

Do film professionals pirate movies?

Film Industry Survey 2014 This is the second of ten articles revealing the results of my survey of 1,235 film industry professionals. More details of the survey and my methodology can be found here and for any questions or clarification please contact me.

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Key Findings – Piracy among film professionals

  • Of those who said piracy had hurt their business, 34% admitted they illegally pirate movies
  • Those whose businesses have been negatively affected by piracy are only marginally less likely to illegally pirate movies than those who feel piracy has been a positive or neutral influence on their business.
  • Professionals working on lower budgets are much more likely to have downloaded an illegal film or TV show than those working on higher budgets.
  • Only 2% of people working on films over $10 million admitted they illegally pirate movies, compared with 70% of those working on films under $1 million.
  • No one who worked in Exhibition admitted to illegally downloading a film or TV show.

Do film professionals pirate movies?

I figured that asking outright “Do you pirate movies?” would lead to a suppressed figure so I used a sneaky method to get closer to the truth. I presented one group three general statements and then a similar group were show the same three statements but mixed with a fourth statement relating to piracy. Both groups were asked how many of the statements they agreed with in total (0, 1, 2, 3 or 4). By comparing the two sets of results we can deduce the average effect of the additional piracy statement. 39% admitted to illegally downloading a feature film or TV show. Respondents who pirate movies, TV shows or feature films

Breakdown by sector

Not a single person in Exhibition admitted they pirate movies or TV shows. Obviously we can’t tell if this reveals that no-one actually illegally downloads content or if it’s more of a taboo in their sector. However, we can note how different this result is from other sectors, such as Marketing and Development, where illegal downloading was far more prevalent (55% and 46% respectively). Respondents who pirate movies or TV shows

Breakdown by budget level

Professionals working on lower budgets are much more likely to have downloaded an illegal film or TV show than those working on higher budgets. Only 2% of people working on films over $10 million admitted to illegally downloading a film or TV show, compared with 65% of those working on films under $1 million. Respondents who pirate movies

Those who have been negatively affected by piracy

I asked respondents two types of questions on the topic of piracy…

  1. I openly asked if pirate movies had affected their business (see my previous article)
  2. I secretly measured how many admitted they illegally pirate movies or TV shows. Full methodology here.

It therefore occurred to me that I could cross-reference the answers to these questions, allowing me to measure if the people negatively affected by piracy are any more or less likely to illegally download content. The results show that respondents who were negatively affected by piracy were less likely to illegally download content, but by a very small margin. Overall 39% of all my surveyed respondents admitted to illegally downloading content and when I looked only at people who have experienced negative effects of piracy it drops by 5% to 34%. Have those who pirate movies had their business hurt by movie piracy?

About the survey

The survey involved 1,235 film industry professionals, all of whom have attended at least one of the three major film markets (Cannes, Berlin or AFM) within the past five years. I asked questions on a variety of hot topics including piracy, the appeal of 3D, gender, and how optimistic industry professionals are for 2014. More details of the survey and my methodology can be found here and for any questions or clarification please contact me.

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  1. Methodology of my Film Industry Survey 2014 | Stephen Follows - March 7, 2014

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