11/01/2005: Thought for the Day:
On Sept. 4, 2005, the New York Times printed the following intriguing correction:
An article last Sunday about film piracy included incorrect revenue data supplied by the Motion Picture Association of America. Hollywood's global revenue in 2004 was $44.8 billion, not $84 billion. Of the total, $21 billion, not $55.6 billion, came from sales of DVDs and Videos.The correction was the result of a Times reporter, Timothy L. O'Brien, asking the Motion Picture Association of America to furnish the combined global take of the major studios in 2004. The six major studios submit their revenue reports to the MPAA, which, in turn, compiles the total revenue received from theatrical distribution, video sales (now mainly DVD), and television licensing. These data are then circulated among top executives in the All Media Revenue Report.
Instead of supplying the New York Times with the actual numbers, the MPAA sent bogus figures. Hollywood's DVD revenue alone was inflated by more than $33 billion, possibly to make the MPAA's war against unauthorized copying appear more urgent. Of course, the reporter had no way of knowing these impressive-sounding numbers were inaccurate and published them in an otherwise accurate story on film piracy. Such are the perils of Hollywood reporting. Since Hollywood is an industry dedicated to perpetrating illusion, its leaders often assume they have license to take liberties with the factual elements that support the movies they make. This practice is euphemistically described by marketing executives as "pushing the reality envelope."
--Edward Jay Epstein
Len on 11.01.05 @ 07:42 AM CST