Piracy would not be as catastrophic as one might think for television channels and streaming platforms. Indeed, a recent study suggests that the more a series is pirated, the more it generates word-of-mouth on the Internet. In fact, it increases the number of paying viewers.
While 24% of French people watch their films and series on pirate sites, rights holders are waging a merciless war against piracy. According to them, a viewer who does not pay for their content is losing money for the company. A fairly logical point of view, but which deserves to be nuanced. David Petrarca, director of Game of Thrones, admitted at the height of the series that it had benefited from the word-of-mouth generated by the record piracy of which it was the subject.
Today, a new study goes in this direction. The researchers analyzed the downloads of 20 series, including Arrow, Lucifer, Supernatural, The Blacklist, and The Flash. They then compared these numbers to Google searches and mentions on Twitter and YouTube to gauge the buzz generated by the hack. Their first conclusion is in agreement with the rights holders. Indeed, the more pirates there are, the fewer paying viewers there are.
Piracy greatly increases the popularity of series
Nevertheless, on closer inspection, the hack also generated buzz on the web, which necessarily attracted more viewers to TV channels and legal streaming services. “Although the direct effect of media consumption by BitTorrent on viewers is negative, the indirect effect that mediates Internet buzz is positive, which offsets the negative effect of piracy”can we read in the study.
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In addition, the study reveals that this word-of-mouth is all the more beneficial for less popular series, especially during the second half of the season. “The mediating effect of Internet buzz was significant in the second half, diluting the negative effect of digital piracy, and even creating an overall positive effect of piracy for TV audiences”write the researchers.
Source : Torrent Freak