Has piracy affected the film business?

3 March '14 3 Comments on Has piracy affected the film business?

Film Industry Survey 2014 This is the first 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

  • 53% said that piracy had either no effect or a positive effect on their business.
  • The largest effect of piracy is within Sales & Distribution, where 67% said it had hurt their business in some way.
  • One in five people working within Sales & Distribution feel that piracy has threatened their profession.
  • Nearly two thirds of those working on budgets under $1 million do not feel piracy has negatively affected their business.

“How has film piracy affected your business?”

Half of all my respondents felt that piracy had no effect on their business. 37% felt it had reduced their business’ income, 9% said it had “seriously threatened” their profession and 3% felt it had helped their business.

Breakdown by sector

Unsurprisingly, the sectors which felt most negatively affected by piracy were Sales, Distribution and Exhibition.

Breakdown by budget level

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.



  1. One question I have about the film sales industry perspective, do they see piracy as having a negative impact, or online in general? This is important because the price of most film goods has significantly decreased (whether they are pirated or not) and the competition has increased dramatically and all of that also has a negative impact on their business. Can they clearly define that it is theft, and not major changes in revenue, that caused their businesses to suffer?

    And it will continue to suffer as selling territorially will disappear in favor of distributing through the global reach of the internet, artists’ ability to distribute directly to their audience without need for sales and distribution middlemen, and perhaps a decline in the creation of feature films in favor of shorter length content meant to be consumed on mobile devices and internent connected TV.

    1. An excellent point, Sheri. I intend to follow up on a number of issue in future research. This survey measures people’s opinions, not economic truths. So if we’re being precise, we can’t say “x% of businesses have been hurt by piracy” but rather “x% of businesses think that piracy has hurt them”

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