Interesting that movie downloads haven’t had a significant impact on video rentals. That will probably change as video streaming services like Netflix become more common.
The music industry has struggled during the past decade due to file sharing and movie business executives fear the same fate. This paper seeks to provide measurements of the effects of peer-to-peer file sharing on the movie industry. We use a long panel of data at the country level containing information on theatrical, video rental, and video retail movie commercial performances, as well as Internet and broadband penetration. We compare the impacts of increased high-speed online connectedness replacing slow-speed Internet connectedness before and after the introduction of the second-generation file sharing technology that has made movie file sharing feasible. This empirical strategy allows us to isolate the effects of file sharing from any other possible Internet impacts on the commercial performance of movies unrelated to file sharing. Our results indicate that the effect of peer-to-peer file sharing is negative and large on video sales, but we do not have confidence regarding the impacts of file sharing on either the theatrical commercial performance of movies or video rentals.