Those looking to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi streaming online may have an easier time doing so, and some industry experts believe Disney may have contributed to that.
Ahead of the release of the eighth movie in the nine-movie saga, there are already a number of sites promoting streaming video of Star Wars that had been pirated from early screenings or the European release (the film was screened on Wednesday in some countries). Even though box office predictions peg the opening weekend for Star Wars: The Last Jedi at more than $200 million (in North America alone), there is plenty of interest online for streaming video of the movie.
As Finder noted, more than 4.7 million people were expected to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi streaming online, close to 5 percent of the total who would be seeing the movie.
While it is inevitable that popular movies end up on streaming video sites, some experts believe that Disney may be drumming up demand for its own product. Earlier this year, the company announced that it would end its relationship with Netflix in 2019 and starting its own streaming video service.
— Naomi Hudson (@naomievette) December 13, 2017
As Torrent Freak noted, this fragmentation stretches consumers thin and forces them to subscribe to multiple different services in order to watch all the television shows and movies they wish. Disney’s decision to split from Netflix helps ensure there is always demand to watch movies like Star Wars: The Last Jedi online by making it harder to do so legitimately, the site noted.
“In a way, this fragmentation is keeping the pirate ecosystems intact. While legal streaming services work just fine, having dozens of subscriptions is expensive, and not very practical. Especially not compared to pirate streaming sites, where everything can be accessed on the same site.”
Online piracy is still a major problem for the film industry, and Digital TV Research found that about $5.5 billion in revenue is lost each year due to piracy. The study found that even people with access to legitimate streaming sites like Netflix and Hulu were still watching more pirated movies online.
But Disney has taken action to stop those trying to watch its movies online. Earlier this year, the company joined forces with a host of other entertainment giants, including Netflix, Hulu, CBS, HBO, Amazon, Twentieth Century Fox, to form the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, fighting piracy worldwide. As Variety noted, the group aims to sue piracy operations.
That appears to have done little to stop the market for those looking to watch Star Wars: The Last Jedi streaming online. Even before the film’s release, there were already dozens of sites advertising streaming video of the latest Star Wars movie.