Moving towards a legal digital film market
BitTorrent, a peer-to-peer file sharing system, was launched back in 2001, leading to a surge in illegal film downloading. Eight years later and Internet Service Providers (ISPs) are reporting that torrents make up as much as 80% of their data traffic and the film industry seems no closer to solving the problems created by digital piracy. This failure to change consumer behaviour threatens to undermine business models across the film industry.
Based on research from Ipsos MediaCT conducted on behalf of the film industry, the UK film and TV industry jointly lost an estimated £500m in revenue, from all forms of piracy in 2007 – both digital and physical (Source: UK Piracy Study 2007). This, combined with a decline in physical DVD sales, which have fallen 9.5% in the first half of 2009 (Source: British Video Association), means that the industry needs to act now to reverse the rise of the pirates and to monetise online film.
This thought piece considers the twin challenges faced by the film industry in needing to cut off illegal file sharing sites, whilst developing compelling official digital models to act as credible alternatives to pirate sites.