In a recent article written for The Whig former ECW, WWE and TNA star Tommy Dreamer wrote of his frustration over internet piracy after he learned that his inaugural "House of Hardcore" show was available on-line. A DVD of the show was produced by RF Video and has sold over 500 copies but it did not take long for pirated copies to pop up online either as a torrent download, as a dubbed DVD being sold "under the table" or available in-full on some websites.
Dreamer said in his article "To run a wrestling event, you need advertising, which costs money. I ran commercials during Monday Night Raw and SmackDown, as well on radio. In all, promoting the show cost me roughly $5,000. I also had to choose whether to do an Internet pay-per-view (IPPV) or showcase the show on DVD, or both. I chose to do just a DVD, which was made available a month after the show. The IPPV costs about $1,500, while my DVD post-production costs were about $1,000. You can see how the costs climbed long before even one ticket was sold.
The DVD was and I consider it mildly successful, having sold about 400 units. I was alerted to a website where it could be downloaded illegally and saw that my show was viewed more than 600 times, which ripped my heart out and made me very angry. This was just on one website. I know this is a huge problem, not just for me, but worldwide. I'm fairly easygoing, I don't mind clips on YouTube, but quick math tells me that 600 times $20 — $12,000 — well that is money that could have been used for future shows, advertising or other budgetary things. I'm just a small-time promotion. I can only imagine the mass pirating that WWE must deal with.
Because of all of this, I will probably just not make House of Hardcore 2 available on any format and go old school. Thus, I will cut my costs and make it a must-see, live only event. If you are not there, you'll miss out."
Piracy has long been a concern of musicians, film makers, and major league sports with any number of CDs, DVDs, PPV events and movies available for download via torrents or offered for download on websites who allow posting of copyrighted content into forums that are readily available for anyone who would register with the website.
The WWE and UFC have taken some website owners and administrators to court and won thought most of those have been sites that stream live events which cuts into the PPV profit margin. The music industry has gone after and won judgements against a number of people who have downloaded CDs and live concert DVD recordings.
With a growing number of independent promotions taking their shows to iPPV and who need DVD sales to help defray costs, piracy has an even bigger impact. As Dreamer stated, if 600 people find a way to download the DVD that is being offered for sale through RF Video, then that is lost revenue and for a great many promotions that revenue could be make or break and eventually force the promotion to close.
It has been estimated that piracy and illegal trading of CDs and DVDs cost the music industry billions every year. The impact on the WWE, TNA and UFC is just as significant with piracy costing those companies hundreds of millions each.
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