On March 14, 2016, Martha De Laurentiis, the Executive Producer of the former NBC show “Hannibal,” published an article in The Hill asking the question, “Did pirates kill ‘Hannibal’?” “Hannibal” was the fifth-most illegally downloaded show in 2013 and nearly one-third of the show’s audience came from pirated websites — despite the fact that a legitimate download for each episode was available the following day. NBC cancelled the show in 2015 after three seasons.
Ms. De Laurentiis debunks the unfortunate but common perception that producers are not harmed by for-profit theft of films and television programs. More importantly, she says that the thousands of crew members that work on television and film sets are often the forgotten victims of piracy. According to Ms. De Laurentiis, pirates of “Hannibal” might not be concerned with the wallets of top-billed actors and producers, but they should be able to relate to the hard-working crew members who were harmed when NBC decided not to renew “Hannibal” for a fourth season.
Ms. De Laurentiis concedes that it is hard to know if pirates killed “Hannibal.” But she is sure that the more than 2 million viewers who watched the show illegally at least partly contributed to the show’s cancellation.
Isn’t it ironic that “Hannibal,” a show about a cannibalistic serial killing psychiatrist, may have been killed by its own fans who downloaded the show illegally?
As I stated in an August 2015 blog, Ms. De Laurentiis has urged that profit should be removed from piracy. As a CreativeFuture Leadership Committee member, she often speaks out about how piracy undermines the vitality of the entire creative industry. CreativeFuture, a coalition of more than 400 companies and organizations in the creative industries, notifies and warns major companies about avoiding ad placement on websites which facilitate illegal content. Ms. De Laurentiis stressed back in August 2015 that “[w]ithout their ad dollars, we can take the profit out of piracy.”Diminishing ad-supported piracy is important to help ensure that content providers, artists, innovators, and marketers can earn a return on their creative works – thereby incentivizing more innovation, investment, and economic growth.