The effect of TV drama piracy: An analysis of digital piracy users, internet buzz, and TV drama viewership

Dongyeon Kim, Kyuhong Park, Youngsok Bang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Notwithstanding the biggest victim of digital piracy, we have a limited understanding of how TV drama piracy affects its legal consumption. Unlike movies or music, TV dramas are typically a series of episodes, where pirated past episodes may not necessarily carry a negative impact on the legal consumption of current episodes. The consumption boosted by piracy can promote Internet buzz, which may draw the attention of potential consumers and may result in broader legal consumption afterward. Based on an empirical analysis regarding the relationships among the viewership of 20 TV dramas broadcast in the US, social media activities on Twitter, Google and YouTube search trends, and the number of BitTorrent users who pirated these TV dramas, we show that although the direct effect of media consumption through BitTorrent to TV viewership is negative, the indirect effect that mediates Internet buzz is positive, which dilutes the negative effect of digital piracy. Such positive effects of digital piracy are more substantial for the second half of dramas, less popular dramas, and serial dramas. We discuss the theoretical contributions and managerial implications of our study.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103599
JournalInformation and Management
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2022 Mar

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by the Yonsei Signature Research Cluster Program [grant number 2021-22-0006]; the Catholic University of Korea Research Fund of 2022; and the Inha University Research Fund of 2022.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Elsevier B.V.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Management Information Systems
  • Information Systems
  • Information Systems and Management


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