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Guess 2017’s most pirated Hindi film?

Guess 2017’s most pirated Hindi film?

Germany-based company releases list based on number of file sharers who have downloaded and shared films in P2P networks

After the mandatory turn-of-the year best and worst film lists comes a unique inventory of “most pirated Hindi movies of 2017” and the surprise toppers are Shah Rukh Khan’s Raees and Hrithik Roshan’s Kaabil both of which had disappointed the star fans and hadn’t had a great run at the box office. Incidentally, both had also locked horns and got released the same date last year—January 25.

Compiled by Germany based company TECXIPIO GmbH, the list is based on the number of file sharers who downloaded and shared the respective movies in P2P (peer to peer) networks.

Source: TECXIPIO GmbH

Rank Movie title No. of file sharers in 2017
1 Raees 6,187,379
2 Kaabil 5,263,526
3 Jolly LLB 2 4,435,585
4 Toilet – Ek Prem Katha 4,270,529
5 Half Girlfriend 4,210,243
6 Badrinath Ki Dulhania 4,022,014
7 Golmaal Again 3,832,369
8 OK Jaanu 3,657,327
9 The Ghazi Attack 3,429,706
10 Judwaa 2 3,398,929

TECXIPIO GmbH has been independently monitoring file sharing activity in P2P networks since July 2012. It has conducted several analyses of P2P activity for Hindi movies, including on individual titles like Golmaal Again and Toilet-Ek Prem Katha.

“With our file sharing statistics, media and entertainment companies can easily monitor and analyse the ‘how, how many and from where’ files of movies, TV shows, and music artistes are downloaded worldwide, even if the content has not yet been officially released in certain markets,” said a company spokesperson over an email exchange.

So their analyses of top shared Hindi films in the first quarter of last year showed that though Hindi films were most popular in India, the next highest level of interest came from neighbour Pakistan. The highest density of fans was in major Indian cities such as Mumbai, Kolkata, Delhi and Bengaluru. Pakistan, which is home to a large population of file sharers showing interest in the top 10 Hindi movies, came a distant second in file sharer density when compared with India. Indian population made up around 60% of total worldwide file sharers of Hindi movies on an average. According to the data, roughly 16% of worldwide file sharers came from Pakistan with Lahore was consistently listed among the top cities sharing the top 10 Hindi films.

Isn’t providing piracy statistics to the entertainment industry ironic and out of the ordinary? “Even if it sounds counter-intuitive, they can actually be used to generate beneficial market insights by analysing how single movies perform in peer-to-peer networks worldwide,” stated the company spokesperson on email.

So how does it prove to be useful? According to TECXIPIO, the P2P file sharing activity reflects consumer behaviour and demand for content worldwide and can be used, for example, to:

– Identify new target markets for content and discover local differences (e.g. for studios or distributors)

– Assess how the number of downloads develops over the time to assess potential for continuations (e.g. for TV networks or content producers)

– Identify high-potential content to optimise video content libraries and programming (e.g. for video on-demand providers)

Filmmaker Rahul Dholakia is, however, understandably dejected at seeing his film at the top of the heap. “I would love people to see Raees but not this way. It’s frustrating and all the more disheartening because the pirated prints are now getting HD quality. You put so much money and effort and theatrical sales get badly affected,” he told The Hindu. At the time of Raees’ release, the talk about it being uploaded had already started. “I kept getting calls from the U.S. On the day of the release we brought it down on 175 sites,” he recalls.

Shailesh Kapoor, founder and CEO of the media consulting firm, Ormax Media, is not shocked at the absence of a top grosser like Tiger Zinda Hai on the list. According to him the maximum shares for a film happen in the three-four months after its release and TZH released just a week before the end of 2017 for the pirated prints to build up. “January releases like Raees and Kaabil have had a much longer window,” he says.

He isn’t surprised at the presence of the much-reviled films like OK Jaanu and Half Girlfriend either. “File sharing in India is metro and youth-skewed,” he says. And these films target that demographic.

More than that, there is also the reverse logic, of watching films, which have been average hits or have got bad word of mouth, without spending money on them. “It’s about choosing not to watch them in theatres when another, alternative platform is available,” says Kapoor.

On the flip side, he would have expected to see more of small, starless, sleeper hits like Newton which, he thinks, are also consumed more on alternative platforms.

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