Today, watching pirated movies is arguably easier than it has ever been before.
Pirates can choose from hundreds of torrent, streaming and direct download sites, and there are dedicated applications that allow people to stream the latest blockbusters without paying a cent.
Movie industry insiders are doing whatever they can to contain piracy. This appears to be a near impossible task as many unauthorized sites and services are operated by anonymous owners.
As a result the MPAA and other groups warn that hundreds of thousands of jobs are at stake, while the economy is losing billions due to piracy. Illegal downloads, they say, are slowly killing their creative industry.
Interestingly, these stark warnings are not reflected in last year’s box office revenues.
Recent numbers show that the movie industry just broke the magic $11 billion barrier, generating more revenue than ever before at the North American box office. The revenue for 2015 totals $11.3 billion, which is roughly a 9% change compared to last year.
The worldwide grosses also reached an all-time record according to research from Rentrak, which estimates the global grosses at a staggering $38 billion based on data from 25,000 theaters across the globe.
Another sign that business is going well, at least for some, is the increase in the number of tickets that were sold. In 2015 theaters increased their ticket sales by more than 5% in North America.
Of course, the above doesn’t prove that illegal downloads have no effect at all. It could be that the movie industry would make even more money if all pirate sites disappeared overnight, as some studies suggest.
Also, the movie industry isn’t by any means limited to the box office. DVD sales and various streaming platforms impact the bigger picture as well.
That said, piracy has certainly not destroyed the movie business just yet. There are still plenty of people who are going to the movie theater to pay for their entertainment. Perhaps pirates should up their game?