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29 Aug 0 Comment

Pirate movie businesses take a second wind due to high movie costs and internet failures


Caracas. “My son is out of the country and he gave us the password to his Netflix account, but you know that here many times there are problems with the internet,” says Félix Acosta, a resident of La Vega, and adds that the pandemic, confinement and Directv’s departure had the DVD and dozens of films that had been stored for more than ten years dusted at his house.

From time to time, he says, he takes advantage of offers that he sees on the street while doing errands or taking a walk with his grandchildren, either near his community or in places like downtown Caracas. “But that is hardly seen anymore, at least not like before,” he points out.

According to figures from the Motion Picture Association, which groups the five major Hollywood studios and recently added Netflix, global DVD and Blu-ray sales fell from $ 25.2 billion to $ 13.1 billion between 2014 and 2018, due to the migration of the public to digital formats, whose revenues increased 170% in that period.

In the case of Félix and his family, he assures that the economic factor and the internet are the most prevalent now. “Directv (now SimpleTV) is not that cheap and their prices are not commensurate with the variety they offer,” he says.

Until May 2020, when it ceased operations, Directv included packages from HBO and the defunct Fox Premium that offered newly released movies at very low prices. SimpleTV currently offers plans between $ 1 and $ 25 and the HBO package costs an additional $ 5 per month. Since last year operators such as Inter, Supercable and NetUno have also been honest about their prices and make adjustments from time to time.

The decline in sales of movies and series in DVD and Blu-ray formats is a worldwide reality and also in Venezuela, where the emergence of platforms such as Netflix and Amazon Prime took longer to occur due to exchange controls, and the economic recession forced at the close of business or migration to other sectors, even those that sell pirated films.

In a shopping center in San Martín, southwest of Caracas, Angélica tells that the small family kiosk that she runs with her brother “mutated” over the past seven years and, from exclusively selling movies, series and video games, now half The business depends on prints, copies, sale of coffee and trinkets.

The ‘good’ is that the situation in the country and the services make the sale of films still profitable. You cannot compare the cost of watching a movie at home, with popcorn and soft drinks at a lower price, than in the cinema, which is almost a luxury and you have to pay for each one that goes, ”she says.

The prices of pirated movies vary depending on the place where they are purchased. In the vicinity of the San Martín and Quinta Crespo markets, a single CD costs between Bs. 500,000 and Bs. 1,000,000, while in formal businesses already established prices range from Bs. 2,000,000 to Bs. 3,000,000 , in DVD format, and can reach Bs. 5,000,000 if they are Blu-ray.

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