Cannibalizing The Audience: How Studios Can Decrease Movie Piracy

How Studios Can Decrease Movie Piracy

There’s a great line in the film adaptation of “Watchmen” that almost perfectly sums up my feelings on this issue. After revealing his plot to save the world, Adrian Veidt asks Dr. Manhattan if he understands why the most extreme measures had to be taken. His response, “without condoning or condemning… I understand.”

Movie piracy is not a victimless crime. The more and more films are illegally shared and downloaded unquestionably has an adverse affect on the amount of movies that can be annually produced and may even be one of the major contributing factors as to why the divide between small films and giant tent-pole blockbusters is consistently growing. But without condoning or condemning, let’s try to understand the allure of pirating movies – which I submit to you, goes well beyond merely seeing the films for free.

I sat in a movie theater recently for a screening set to begin at 2:50pm.

At 3:10pm, the advertisements ended.

Understand, when I say advertisements, I don’t mean movie trailers – I mean commercials. Twenty minutes of them. By the time the trailers had rolled, it was roughly 3:30pm and I had already forgotten what film I had even come to see. This is a trend that I have hated from its inception and I swear it gets worse every year. The fact that I have to actually sit through commercials is one of the most obnoxious realities about visiting a movie theater and if you don’t think that this alone impacts theater attendance, you are lying to yourself.

movie piracy

With DVD sales plummeting and discs quickly being relegated to the $5 bin at Best Buy, one might think that piracy would be chiefly responsible, but as an avid DVD collector, I can tell you that’s really not the case. Watching DVDs and Blurays used to be as simple as popping in a disc, being presented with a menu screen that allowed you to easily navigate through chapters, special features or simply just start the film. Now I am noticing that with every new addition to my collection I am being required to either sit through or skip dozens and dozens of forced-play ads and trailers before I’m even presented with this option. It’s exhausting.

So here’s my question to the studios, exhibitors and manufacturers – why am I being penalized for paying full price?

I’m in your theater, I’ve purchased your media, why can’t I simply be given your product? I truly believe that the excessive advertisement taking place in the film industry is one of the key elements being overlooked when it comes to alienating the audience. If we want to make a honest, concerted effort to reduce piracy, we really need to address the audience experience and begin asking if it is necessary to cannibalize those who are already slapping their money down on the counter.

Because when someone torrents a film and, in effect, circumnavigates the barrage of ads being hammered at them any time they willingly participate in the legal purchasing of film media…

…without condoning or condemning

I understand.