MUSO’s 2015 Berlinale EFM Piracy Study Reveals New Insights

Throughout 2015, MUSO has charted piracy levels for Berlinale’s Golden Lion and Silver Bear award-nominated films to gain a deeper understanding of the size and trends of piracy audiences in relation to European independent film releases. As Berlinale & EFM 2016 kick off today in Berlin, MUSO can reveal new insights from our findings, with the discovery of a large audience of early-adopters seeking out films during the early release window.

MUSO’s Market Analytics big-data platform has estimated entire global audience piracy demand over 12 months, with total illegal downloads reaching 216,497. For the first time, we are able to highlight key insights on piracy behaviour around European cinema during the pre-release window, with our year-long analysis demonstrating online piracy demand was strong for all titles included.

Looking in more detail at the distribution of online piracy, a key insight highlights search and download behaviour wasn’t localised to any specific forum or torrent site, instead peppered across a variety of language and country specific forums which indicates a diverse audience demographic seeking out the specific films at an early stage in the release window.

Although the majority of the films received limited releases in Europe and at international film festivals, which explains the relatively low upload file count (the number of unique download links the films were distributed through via the piracy websites), these low numbers still demonstrate a large piracy audience who are seeking out the film through piracy-centred localised forums and sites. These numbers shed insight on the demand for independent film releases previously assumed too small to be impacted by piracy.

Talking to MUSO, Chief Commercial Officer, Christopher Elkins comments, “Independent rights owners can often be the hardest hit by commercial online piracy, yet many remain unaware of the impact even a perceived small volume of infringing file uploads can cause.” Christopher points out that the study highlights online demand for all types of content, emphasising a higher level of demand during the early stages of the film release than previously thought across the industry. This demand is often fuelled by the most fervent fans of the films, who posit themselves as the key viewership, and a potential key audience for online marketing success. “It’s an important step towards a deeper understanding of audience behaviour for a specific type of film, and during a specific release period online, particularly around the time of their release at market.”

No films were exempt from piracy. Taxi Tehran, the winner of the 2015 Golden Bear (grossing $ 3,353,426 internationally), had a audience download count of 25,700. Afrerim!, produced by a small Romanian production company, HI Film Productions, garnered a relatively high number of infringing file uploads, which reflects in the download rate, totalling to a piracy audience of 38,300. The larger numbers emerged from the higher budget films; Terrence Malick’s Knights Of Cups and Andrew Haigh’s 45 Years. Although these films are only now receiving wider release, and have high budgets and higher-billing actors, these films were also hit by early-window piracy and produced a large number of files uploaded online. Diary of a Chambermaid, a film headlined by Léa Seydoux who received limited release, found a wide online audience through forums, with a total down rate of 30,200. YouTube was also a particularly key destination for audiences, with two infringing copies remaining online to tally an additional 55,022 views.

To affirm the importance of this audience, Chris Anderson, MUSO’s Head of TV & Film, UK & Europe, thinks that there’s an online audience for almost all films, regardless of how niche they are. He points out, “We often discuss whether a film is “big enough” to be pirated, especially with the industry at EFM, but this data shows that consumers can successfully view all types and sizes of films illegally online.”

Top Visitor Page Hit Per Film:

  1. 45 Year (UK): 67, 000
  2. Knights of Cups (USA): 53, 800
  3. Aferim! (Romania, Bulgaria, Czech Republic): 38, 300
  4. Diary of a Chambermaid (Belgium, France): 30,200
  5. Taxi Tehran (Iran): 25,700

For more information on the EFM 2015 Film Piracy Study, or to meet with MUSO’s UK & Europe team – Chris Anderson, Jasper McGuinness (UK) and Davide Castorina (France & Benelux) – in attendance at EFM 2016 from today, please contact us.

To find out more about MUSO’s suite of piracy solutions, please visit Products.

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