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Oscars 2019: Roma and other Best Picture nominees gaining plenty of pirate attention

An Academy Award is one of the highest honours anyone in the film industry can receive, but it can attract some potentially unwanted attention too. Piracy-tracking firm MUSO has found that an Oscar nomination is a sure-fire way to send piracy activity through the roof.

MUSO told Trusted Reviews that it detected huge increases in piracy activity for Best Picture award front-runners Green Book, Roma, and The Favourite, after they were all nominated for the prize at the 2019 Oscars.

  • Green Book − 42% increase in piracy
  • Roma − 30% increase in piracy
  • The Favourite − 16% increase in piracy

The fact that more people try to watch a certain film (by fair means or foul) after it’s nominated for a major award is, of course, hardly a huge surprise. But there are some very interesting findings in MUSO’s report, which suggest that the film industry might be shooting itself in the foot.

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In the cases of Green Book and The Favourite, pirated DVD screeners made their way onto the web while the films were still being shown in cinemas.

A pirated DVD screener of Green Book made its way online on December 29, with a HD piracy alternative following on February 19. A pirated DVD screener of The Favourite, meanwhile, went up days later, on January 2, with a HD piracy alternative following on February 12.

“The notion of sending out thousands of discs and thinking that they won’t end up online is crazy,” Chris Anderson, the head of film and TV at MUSO, told Trusted Reviews.

“Generally speaking, the industry is getting better. Day to day screenings of films are done under the lock and key of a password protected streaming service such as Vimeo, rather than handing out discs at festivals. However, with the Oscars and Baftas we still see a huge number of DVDs sent out, and inevitably they end up online.”

The findings suggest that, no matter how much work film studios and industry groups put into clamping down on pirates all over the world, one of their biggest enemies lies much closer to home.

The case of Roma is equally intriguing. Unlike Green Book and The Favourite, it was treated to a global release on the world’s best known film and TV streaming service, Netflix.

“Seeing an increase in piracy of 30% is interesting, as the piracy can’t be credited to windowing or different quality releases being available. Roma has been available in HD from the start, on the world’s most popular SVOD platform,” MUSO said.

Anderson says it was a “surprise” to see piracy activity around Roma increase so significantly , and expects it to rise further if it goes on to win the Best Picture award.

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“In the case of Roma, where it’s readily available to stream on Netflix, it is a surprise to see such an increase in piracy consumption,” he told Trusted Reviews.

“In the two weeks after the Oscar nomination was received, piracy consumption for Roma increased by nearly a third compared with the two weeks prior. This shows that legal availability isn’t always the answer, and that fans will want to watch these films wherever they can and an Oscar nomination fuels that.”

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