Date: 6th October 2000

Piracy Pushes Up Release Dates For Home Video

Video piracy has motivated the major studios to push up the video releases of their films to within a month of the overseas theatrical run of the films, the Wall Street Journal reported today (Friday). Woody Tsung, chief of the Motion Picture Industry Association in Hong Kong told the newspaper that his group was instrumental in forcing the speed-up. "There was no way we could compete with the pirates unless we could come closer to the theatrical release date," said Tsung. "The consumer would prefer to buy pirated copies rather than legit ones because it was faster."

The strategy has dramatically boosted sales and rentals of videos, particularly overseas, the WSJ said. One Hong Kong video distributor told the newspaper that sales for DVDs handled by his company tripled during the past year. Another said that they had doubled. (Ironically, another WSJ article today attributed the theater-to-video speedup in the rapid construction of megaplexes.

"With so many new screens around the country, movies no longer remain in theaters as long as they used to," the article observed.)

Source: Studio Briefing