Slipping DVD Sales and Oversimplifying Complex Phenomena

The movie studios sold fewer DVDs in 2008 than 2007 (which was itself a down year from the all-time sales peak of 2006). Why? Was it because of:

  1. The deepening recession in the United States throughout 2008, which caused consumers to cut back on discretionary spending on entertainment, as further confirmed by the decline in the number of  tickets sold in 2008 for movies in theatrical release?
  2. The Blu-ray victory in the lengthy high-def format war, which led consumers to postpone new DVD purchases until their desired titles were available in high definition?
  3. Increasing broadband internet penetration, leading to improved end-user experiences with video-on-demand services like Netflix and Hulu?  Or…
  4. PIRATES!

Do the studios have a problem with the increasing availability of their works on peer-to-peer file-sharing sites? Of course they do. Is that the sole explanation, or even the most significant contributing factor, for declining DVD sales? The linked New York Times story doesn’t even acknowledge the existence of any other explanations—a jarring omission, given how many other possibilities were surely staring the authors in the face. By reflexively parroting the studio line on the causes underlying the challenging conditions the movie industry (along with everyone else, by the way!) now faces, the Times trivializes a complex issue and serves its readers poorly.

3 Responses to “Slipping DVD Sales and Oversimplifying Complex Phenomena”

  1. Tim: *Please* take five minutes to turn this post into a letter to the editor! They could use a good talking-to.

  2. Don’t forget the growth of mailed rentals such as Netflix.

  3. [...] breaking the law has consequences,” the entertainment industry would not be complaining so loudly about piracy.  What actually happened was, the RIAA sued a bunch of people, and users apparently [...]