After the outbreak of the corona virus, Steven Soderbergh's 2011 film about a pandemic, contagion, shows an increase in viewership. The problem is that contagion is not streamed anywhere – especially in the United States – which leads to an increase in rents on iTunes and torrent downloads.
The Verge has partnered with TorrentFreak to investigate the increase in download contagion users between January 1st and March 4th. Ernesto, TorrentFreak's site editor, estimates the data based on IP addresses that share the movie. Analysts look at torrent tracker data "that is public and that downloads IP addresses," he told The Verge. The data is not complete or accurate, but torrent statistics are never. Think of them as accurate estimates.
There are four cases of contagion downloads between late January and early March. Each increase in downloads, which varies from a few hundred to almost 20,000, is aligned with an important news event in the spread of the new disease. Before January 24th, several hundred downloads were carried out daily at Contagion. On January 25, it jumped to over 1,500. On January 29, when the news came out that the new Corona virus had landed in the US, there were over 18,000 downloads.
The film was initially the most popular in South Korea, one of the hardest hit countries, but its popularity has since been overtaken by the United States, according to Ernesto. "These download numbers only apply to torrents that make up a small part of the piracy landscape," Ernesto told The Verge. "Streaming piracy is much more popular (but not measurable), so the total number of piracy is much higher."
"Streaming piracy is much more popular (but not measurable), so the total number of piracy is much higher."
This corona virus has become an increasingly pressing crisis in recent months. Over 100,000 cases of COVID-19 (the disease caused by the novel coronavirus) have been reported worldwide. More than 3,400 people have died, with the vast majority of cases and deaths still in China. Fears of virus proliferation have caused organizers of massive tech conferences, including Google I / O, Facebook's F8, and the annual game developer conference, to cancel or postpone the events. Schools are closing and offices are asking employees to work from home. This makes activities that are controlled by a computer, phone or television more and more attractive. Like watching movies.
At the same time that people are torrenting the film, Contagion has also increased the number of iTunes downloads around the world. It is on the top 10 list in countries like Australia and in the top 20 in several other countries, including the United States. As BuzzFeed reported earlier this week before the new one Coronavirus outbreak, it wasn't even in the top 100.
"The similarities between our contagion and the corona virus are negligible, accidental, and really not that important," the contagionist Scott Z. Burns told Fortune recently. “What is more important and precise is the social response and the spread of fear and the resulting effects. That turned out to be correct. "
Rents and torrent downloads are also increasing in part as contagion is not available through any of the popular subscription streaming services in the United States. Only those who have access to Cinemax – a premium network that is available as an add-on to some streaming services such as Hulu and Amazon Prime Channels – can access the film. There is a streaming service for Cinemax called Max Go, but it is not used as often as Netflix or Hulu. It's more like HBO Now. For comparison, HBO Now has approximately 8 million subscribers, while Hulu has just over 30 million and Netflix has more than 167 million worldwide.
The big question is whether "Contagion" would be available to stream on Netflix. Would this mean that suddenly anyone with a Netflix subscription would see it?
Although Contagion was reportedly recently available on Netflix and others in other countries, it has disappeared from many. As a result, users have to turn to Amazon and iTunes to get rental options or downloads. There's also an argument that many of the download users would use Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime Video to stream the movie through their monthly subscriptions if the option were there. According to a 2018 study by Motherboard, "pirates" spend the most on legal content.
The big question is whether Contagion would be available to stream on Netflix. Would this mean that suddenly anyone with a Netflix subscription would see it? Depends on. Streaming services like Netflix have been working for years on the recommendation algorithm that leads to what is displayed on our websites. These streaming services also tend to broadcast original content through licensed titles. If you're using Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu as examples, look at the homepage when you open the app. The top carousel space is reserved for the new big TV show or the new film. If you scroll down the page, other originals will be shown for the streamers to see. The streamers are no longer just distributors. They are networks. The original content takes precedence.
Think of Pandemic, a new documentation from Netflix on how to prevent a global outbreak. Although it is an original and something that Netflix could strongly promote, it never appeared on my homepage. I don't watch a lot of documentaries and definitely nothing medical. Even my recording of scientific series and films is low. Therefore it is not recommended to me. Other originals that suit my interests are instead. Netflix does hundreds of A / B tests every year to align content with people's interests based on what they see.
Because of this referral system, Netflix tried to generate a conversation about what the majority of its subscribers see in every country where it's available. Netflix launched its “Top 10” list in the US a few weeks ago after testing in the UK and plans to enter more countries soon. These titles are based on subscribers watching at least two minutes of a show or movie (the same data that Netflix uses for its metrics). Most of the top 10 lists are Netflix originals. Would Contagion reach the top 10 if it were on Netflix? Maybe, but it's not safe.
Nevertheless, take a look at the latest Google Trends data for Contagion and look back over the past 90 days. Interest is growing by leaps and bounds and the ninth most frequent query for the film title is "Where can you see contagion?". The 19th, 20th and 21st queries are "Contagion Netflix" at the time of writing. A number of other searches include "Contagion full movie" and "Contagion full movie download free".
Users want to watch Contagion and use the streaming services they subscribe to. Without these options, however, you need to look at the rental options and download. Netflix executives have publicly stated that they plan to invest a lot more in original content rather than buying more licensed films, but you have to imagine that they are kicking themselves for not bidding now.