While the attention is on leaked emails, that’s not to say Hollywood isn’t worried about piracy.
On online forums where criminals “advertise their ill-gotten gains,” there is now entertainment content “popping up as basically sections of these websites,” Rasmussen said.
Some people believe that video leaks can help gin up media and viewer attention for a show or movie, but leaking shows and movies does hurt Hollywood’s take, especially if it happens before the official release, Carnegie Mellon professor Michael Smith said.
In a 2014 analysis, Smith and his co-authors concluded that a movie’s box-office revenue dropped 19 percent, on average, when it was leaked ahead of the theatrical release, compared with a leak after the movie hit theaters. The research was part of a Carnegie Mellon initiative funded by the Motion Picture Association of America, Hollywood’s lobbying group.
One way to overcome pirates is to make programs widely and cheaply available. Netflix has many shows and movies that are easily accessible around the world for a single monthly price. In April, hackers leaked most new episodes of Netflix’s “Orange is the New Black” before their official release in early June. That doesn’t seem to have driven customers away. Netflix added more than 5 million subscribers in the April-to-June period, the largest increase ever for that quarter.
Separate from HBO’s recent run-ins with hackers, upcoming “Game of Thrones” episodes have leaked several times, and it is TV’s most pirated show. The show is still a massive hit for HBO, with high viewership and critical acclaim. As for the recent hacks, episodes of “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” ”Insecure,” ”Ballers” and several other shows leaked.
It helped that entire seasons weren’t released, forcing viewers to subscribe to view the whole show.