Yesterday, I released six years of piracy data for your bemusement and data munging. But what does it all mean? Well, let's start with a couple questions.
1. Is the MPAA doing a better job at preventing screeners from leaking online?
It's hard to say. There are a couple weeks left, but so far, less than half of the 32 Academy screeners have leaked online. But yet, all but
four three of the 34 nominated films are available in DVD quality right now, either as a screener or retail DVD. ( Lars and the Real Girl, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and The Savages are the only films that haven't leaked online in any form.)
If you look at the chart, it doesn't seem like much has changed in the time it takes for films to leak online.
So what's really going on here?
2. Is the MPAA preventing overall piracy of Oscar films?
No. 148 out of 151 of Oscar-nominated films from 2003 to 2007 were available in DVD quality (either leaked retail or screener DVDs) by Oscar night. The films are getting leaked just as quickly as ever, but apparently not through Academy screeners. This could be because watermarks and recent court cases are acting as an effective deterrent, but I think it's attributable to two other reasons, which I mentioned in my post yesterday.
First, the gap between theatrical releases to retail DVD is getting shorter. (Note: I'm going to use the date the retail DVD was leaked as an approximation of the official DVD release date.) In the last five years, it's gone from an average of about four months to about three months, and continuing to shrink.
Second, the rise of Region 5 DVD transfers from overseas. These DVDs transferred directly from the film source were intended to help them compete with pirates by providing high-quality retail copies of films at the time of the film's release. Instead, it's created a huge new method of acquiring films before screeners are even released. (Read more about R5s at Afterdawn.)
Screeners aren't leaking as often, not because the MPAA's protecting them better, but because they've made the whole process moot by providing higher-quality, easier-to-acquire copies before screeners are released, in the form of R5 and retail DVDs.
Find anything else interesting in the data? Please, comment or send it to me and I'll add it to this entry.
February 11 Update: The Lars and the Real Girl screener was released. I updated the data.