And the winner of the most pirated motion picture is …

  • 385% increase in piracy worldwide for nominated films following Jan 15 announcements
  • Potential revenue of over US$40 million from leaked Hollywood Screeners

And the winner of the most pirated motion picture is …

MILLIONS of people worldwide tuned in to watch the 87th Academy Awards on TV and the Internet, and an increasing number of these fans would have illegally downloaded the Oscar-nominated films.

Irdeto, a world leader in anti-piracy and Revenue Assurance solutions, monitored illegal downloads of films in the US and over 200 countries worldwide from Jan 1 through Feb 14. The company revealed in a statement that the Academy Awards draws massive consumer interest outside the US, evidenced by a 385% increase in piracy worldwide for nominated films following the announcements on Jan 15.

While Gone Girl was the early frontrunner after nominations, American Sniper (pic above) took the lead and is currently the most pirated film in the world post-nomination, according to the data. This global piracy activity can be seen visually in Irdeto’s 2015 Academy Awards Piracy Heat Map.

If the awards were decided based on illegal downloads following the nomination, the category winners on Sunday would have been:

  • Best Picture – American Sniper (1,389,819 downloads worldwide since Jan 15; the top title downloaded in the US as well as over 100 other countries).
  • Best Director – Alejandro González Iñárritu, Birdman (796,697 downloads worldwide since Jan 15; the #1 downloaded film in both Mexico and Spain).
  • Best Actress – Rosamund Pike, Gone Girl (1,252,074 downloads worldwide since Jan 15).
  • Best Actor – Bradley Cooper, American Sniper (1,389,819 downloads worldwide since Jan 15).

Nominated films were pirated from a number of formats including Blu-ray discs, HDTV, CAM (cameras), DVD and other sources. However, Hollywood screeners specifically accounted for a substantial 31% of the total illegal downloads tracked between Jan15 and Feb 14.

Hollywood screeners are traditionally Blu-Ray discs or DVDs (although some studios are now moving to online distribution) given to film critics, awards voters and other film industry professionals for an advanced screening.

Six nominated movies currently unavailable for retail purchase on Blu-Ray, DVD, VOD or legal streaming/download sites saw the majority of piracy coming directly from these screeners: American Sniper, The Imitation Game, Wild, Selma, Whiplash and Still Alice.

While not every illegal download can be considered a lost sale, Irdeto estimates a potential over US$40 million in retail revenue that could have been captured for these six titles, if they had been made available to consumers.

Irdeto found a spike in piracy for almost every country following the Jan 15 nominations. Outside of the US, the top 10 countries that account for the most illegal downloads (totalling over three million) are: Russia, Italy, Britain, Brazil, Canada, India, Australia, Spain, South Korea and the Netherlands. Alternatively, the countries with the highest percentage of piracy per Internet user population were Australia, Italy, Greece, Ireland and Portugal.

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