Movie downloading on the rise

Illegal downloading is not going away. And movie downloading could soon be a bigger issue than music downloading:

Films and other files larger than 100MB are becoming the most requested downloads on networks around the world, said UK net analysts CacheLogic….

It estimates that at least 10 million people are logged on to a peer-to-peer (P2P) network at any time.

“Video has overtaken music,” CacheLogic founder and chief technology officer Andrew Parker told BBC News Online.

The firm has come up with its picture of file-sharing by inspecting activity deep in the network rather than just at the ports.

P2P is the largest consumer of data on ISP’s networks, significantly outweighing web traffic and every year costing an estimated £332 million globally, according to CacheLogic. [TC: This is a figure you don’t usually hear, though its calculation remains obscure.]

In the sphere of music, traditionally assumed to account for the vast majority of file-sharing, it is no longer about the big guns such as Kazaa, which has declined in popularity since being targeted by the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).

File-swappers have moved their attention to other peer-to-peer software, such as Bittorrent.

While the FastTrack network (which carries Kazaa ) still accounts for 24% of all P2P traffic, the lesser known Bittorrent and eDonkey together account for 72% of file-sharing, according to CacheLogic’s report…

On the release of one major Hollywood blockbuster, 30% of the P2P traffic at one ISP came from a single 600MB file.

Here is the full story. Here is (sketchy) evidence that movie downloading leads to fewer theater visits. South Koreans seem to have a special propensity to download movies.

That all being said, downloading has not been so bad for the music industry. Sales are up, read this too. What is the biggest winner? Country music. Concert revenues, supposedly the future of the music industry (“give music away for free and then tour”), are on the downslide.

My take: DVDs are currently cinematic goldmines, read here too. This won’t last forever, and part of the “rent exhaustion” will include additional movie downloads, especially from low income viewers. Hollywood will end up back in a normally profitable state of affairs. I’m all for copyright enforcement, but current violations are not (yet?) close to a critical point.

Addendum: Legal music downloads are shifting the balance toward classical music.


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