It’s probably a safe bet to assume that members of the Motion Picture Association of America were among the happiest around when they learned that file hosting site MegaUpload had been shut down and their servers had been seized as part of a raid back in January.
The MPAA was a firm believer that MegaUpload was a threat to the entertainment industry although a recent study from researchers from the Copenhagen Business School and the Munich School of Management would suggest otherwise.
These researchers combed over five years’ worth of data and statistics from BoxOfficeMojo.com during the study. They discovered that there was very little evidence to suggest that closing MegaUpload had a positive effect on movie ticket revenue.
In fact, the data (although statistically insignificant) shows that MegaUpload’s closure may have had a negative impact on box office sales of average size and low budget movies. An opposite effect was noticed for larger blockbuster films, however.
They conclude that file sharing serves as a method to spread information about a product from a group of consumers that have zero or very little willingness to pay to users that are very willing to pay for a film.
In layman’s terms, this simply means that people that won’t pay to see a movie may encourage others to do so by making a particular movie available – in other words, helping to spread the word about a movie they might not have heard of.