Saturday, 14 May 2011

Results from a non-representative sample ran a web-based survey to learn about Kiwis' film watching habits. The sample skews, as expected, towards young folks who use the internet.

Among that non-representative group, a slim majority download films regularly despite New Zealand's awful average download speeds from international servers, and a large majority of those downloaders do not pay for the downloaded films.

The main reason cited for illegal downloads? Films being released in New Zealand much later than in the States and elsewhere; if all your friends elsewhere are talking about a movie you can't legally pay to see here, you might just be tempted to torrent it illegally.

I don't buy that the survey figures are representative of overall Kiwi downloading habits, but I'd expect that they have a fairly representative sample of those who do download. And the cited reasons for downloading ring true.

I hope the eventual shift to fully digital film distribution to cinemas ends the international windowing of film release dates. It can make sense to wait to send physical media to far-flung small low revenue markets until after the first run theatres stop showing the film in the major markets.

But I've not heard of any Kiwi theatres that have flipped to digital projection to get early access to films. The costs are high but not prohibitive; I'd have expected that a cinema making the investment and then having access to early digital releases would take the market. Or do the distributors preclude single cinemas from doing that? If anybody knows how licensing arrangements here work, I'd be interested in hearing about it. I'm curious.

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