must reads: “Why renters and pirates watch such different movies”

Sam Worthington and Zoe Saldana in Avatar

I thought this was gonna be about how different versions of individual movies appear in legitimate and illegitimate content streams. But, no, it’s even better: it’s about why the movies that are pirated the most are not the same ones that are rented the most. And it’s not why you think. Patrick Goldstein at 24 Frames:

I’m just as obsessed with lists as everyone else, so it caught my eye the other day when Time put two lists up against each other–the most rented movies at Netflix vs. the most illegally downloaded movies from TorrentFreak. The comparison was eye-catching, since if you just compiled the top five entries from each list, as Time did, there was no overlap at all.

Netflix’s most rented movies of all time was led by “The Blind Side,” with “Crash” at No. 2, “The Bucket List” at No. 3, “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button” at No. 4 and “The Hurt Locker” at No. 5

TorrentFreak’s most pirated films list was led by (no surprise here) “Avatar,” followed by “The Dark Knight,” “Transformers,” “Inception” and “The Hangover.” So what does it tell us?

Time’s theory about why the two lists look so different was simple: Dudes really like to steal movies; their moms like to rent them. But it’s actually a little more complicated than that. I’d argue that the lists demonstrate that TorrentFreak customers are early adopters while Netflix subscribers are late adopters. Being largely young, Torrent fans go for the eye candy movies that have the biggest buzz of the moment while the Netflix crowd, which skews older, prefers movies that have a more cerebral sort of buzz, the prestige of critical cachet.

There’s more: check it out.

Via @Krizanovich.

(If you stumble across a must-read link, feel free to email me.)

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