A new study funded by the MPAA has found that the major studios' own actions may be responsible for increased piracy and lost sales.
Release delays are often unavoidable, due to localization issues, but much of the time, they are artificially introduced in order to maximize revenues at movie theaters.
But the Carnegie Mellon University’s Initiative for Digital Entertainment Analytics carried out the study based real-world data, and found that a longer release delay actually correlates to drop in DVD sales.
"Our results suggest that an additional 10-day delay between the availability of digital piracy and the legitimate DVD release date in a particular country is correlated with a 2-3% reduction in DVD sales in that country," writes the researchers.
Diving further into the data, the researchers then find that the size of the sales reduction actually correlates to that country's piracy level.
For example, in Spain and Italy where piracy levels are higher, the corresponding sales drops were higher too.
"When we run our regressions on Spain and Italy alone, we observe a 10% drop in sales for every 10-day delay in legal availability, as compared to a 2% drop in sales for every 10-day delay in the entire sample," the study found.
In conclusion, the researchers suggests studios do away with release delays whenever possible.
"Our results suggest that studios and exhibitors should reconsider delayed international movie releases in the presence of global piracy," the researchers concluded.