Vid pirates make bid for Asia’s digital biz

China accounts for $178 mil in lost revs

Film piracy continues to grow in Asia, and it’s going digital.

The Motion Picture Assn. reported that video piracy in the Asia-Pacific region cost U.S. copyright holders $718 million in 2003, up from $642 million in 2002. China is estimated to be the biggest contributor, with 95% of its available content pirated and accounting for $178 million in lost revenue. Japan came in second at $147 million, although the piracy rate in the more developed nation was just 9%. In more positive news for Hollywood, though, piracy rates in Hong Kong, Malaysia and Thailand all fell last year, to 50%, 20%and 60%respectively.

Working with law enforcement agencies, MPA conducted 13,000 raids in the Asia-Pacific region last year, confiscating nearly 45 million pirated discs, the org said. Its data revealed that pirates are following the market trend away from VHS and toward DVDs, with videotape seizures down 55%for the year, while machine-manufactured DVD seizures were up 101%and 11%more video CDs — still the dominant piracy medium in the region — were confiscated.

In a sign for the future, recordable DVD seizures were up a remarkable 3,265%.

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