Smithpage Contact Information:
Heinz College
Carnegie Mellon University
4800 Forbes Avenue, HBH 2204
Pittsburgh PA, 15213
Voice: 412-268-5978
Fax: 412-268-5338
Office: Hamburg Hall 2204
Assistant: Kristen Yeager (Cubicle Outside HBH 2204 | 412-268-7148)
SSRN Author Page



  • January-17:  Rahul Telang and my article, “Data Can Enhance Creative Projects — Just Look at Netflix” was featured on Harvard Business Review.
  • December-17:  Brett Danaher, Rahul Telang, and my research on how piracy can hurt consumers was featured on Technology Policy Institute’s blog.  The correlations we found are consistent with the hypothesis that piracy adversely affects both demand and supply, and has caused investment in culturally important films to drop.
  • November-17:  I was featured in an article by Billboard about the concern of artists limiting legal access to albums and how it may result in increased piracy from customers.
  • November-17: My paper with Pedro Ferreira and Miguel Godinho de Matos is now available on Management Science articles in advance. In the paper we conduct a real-world experiment with a major telecommunications provider to analyze the effect of subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) services on digital piracy consumption. Our results show that “using legal SVoD to curtail piracy will require, at the minimum, offering content much earlier and at much lower prices than those currently offered in the marketplace, changes that are likely to reduce industry revenue and that may damage overall incentives to produce new content while, at the same time, curbing only a small share of piracy.”
  • November-17:  I was interviewed by Radio Canada about the effects of the digital sales tax in Pennsylvania.
  • November 17- I was awarded the 2018 Carol and Bruce Mallen Award for Lifetime Published Scholarly Contributions in the Economics of the Motion Pictures Industry.
  • October-17:  I was interviewed on the Michael S. Robinson show about how big data is impacting the entertainment industry.
  • October-17: My article with Brett Danaher was published in this month’s George Mason University Law Review. In the article we discuss the relevant economic theory and available empirical evidence on whether piracy hurts consumers by reducing incentives to creators. We conclude that “although there is not strong evidence of a decrease in the total number of products being made, there is evidence consistent with more subtle negative impacts [of piracy] on the creative process.”
  • September-17:  I was featured in an article by Variety on how to quantify the value of winning an Emmy and the effects the win could have for creators.
  • September-17:  My paper with Jeffrey Hu and Hailiang Chen was accepted for publication at Management Science. In the paper we analyze the impact of delayed Kindle releases on hardcover book sales and overall book sales. We find that delaying Kindle availability has very little impact of hardcover sales and significantly hurts Kindle sales.
  • August-17:  The Associated Press News article titled “Hollywood’s Hacking Pains are Bigger Than Movie Leaks” featured my research with co-authors that suggests pre-release movie piracy causes a 19.1% drop in theatrical revenue.
  • August-17:  I gave a talk titled “Data Analytics and Consumer Behavior” at ComcastLabs PHLAI:  Machine Learning Conference.
  • July-17:  I gave a presentation titled “Anti-Piracy and Consumer Behavior:  What we Know So Far” on July 25th at the Microsoft Technology Center NYC for Microsoft Media & Entertainment Day.
  • June-17:  I gave a talk titled “Is Big Data Killing Creativity?” at Microsoft’s Seattle Impact Hub as part of CMU’s “3 Big Ideas” event.
  • June-17: I participated in the 2017 Center for the Protection of Intellectual Property Summer Institute in a panel discussion on “Innovative and Creative IP Commercialization.”
  • May-17:  I gave a presentation at the 2017 IT Teaching Workshop on Digital Transformation and the Entertainment Industry.
  • May-17: I discussed the cost of piracy on social welfare and whether anti-piracy legislation has an effect on consumer behavior on an episode of NPR’s Marketplace Tech.
  • April-17: My paper with Rahul Telang and Daegon Cho analyzing the impact of digitization on music concerts has been accepted for publication in Information Economics and Policy. In the paper we show that the reduction in music sales caused by digitization and piracy has led to both an increase in the number of concerts artists perform and an increase in the geographical diversity of touring locations.
  • March-17:  I participated in a Veritas Forum event at Ohio State University titled “The Future of Work — Technological Innovation, Economic Disruption, and Human Dignity” to “explore the unintended consequences of technological innovation on our society’s most vulnerable workers.”
  • March-17:  I will be giving a talk to open the ACA Summit 2017 session titled, “Bumpy Seas:  Leveraging Disruption in the Video Market” and participating on the panel with key players who face the challenges and opportunities of digital viewing and its marketplace.
  • March-17: I was featured in an article by Swedish news publication IDG about the negative effects that piracy, illegal downloads, and file-sharing has on the entertainment industry.
  • March-17: Rahul Telang and I spoke to CBC Radio about how big data is increasing creative opportunities for the entertainment industry.
  • March-17: Rahul Telang and I were featured in an article by The Shorthorn about how streaming platforms such as Netflix are significantly changing how entertainment is consumed.
  • February-17: I gave a keynote address titled “Piracy and Film:  5 Myths and the Truth” at the 2017 Film &TV Näringsdagen in Stockholm. 
  • February-17: I gave a presentation titled “Big Data, Content Bubbles, and the Future of Entertainment” at the Redburn Media Conference in London.
  • February-17: Brett Danaher, Rahul Telang, and my article was featured in Communications of the ACM.  In our article, we conclude that the most effective response to piracy involves combined efforts from both rightsholders and governments.
  • February-17:  Rahul Telang and I discussed digital media distribution from our book, “Streaming, Sharing, Stealing:  Big Data and the Future of Entertainment” on a podcast episode with MIT’s Initiative on the Digital Economy.
  • January-17:  The Heinz College interviewed me for an article discussing my research (with Seth Stephens-Davidowitz and Hal Varian) analyzing the impact of Super Bowl advertisements on box office revenue.
  • January-17: I spoke to Raw Data about the “perfect storm” of change and shift of power in Hollywood driven by big data with the rise of powerful players such as Netflix and Amazon who use customer data to create content.
  • January-17:  My paper with Seth Stephens and Hal Varian appeared in this month’s Quantitative Marketing and Economics Journal.  In the paper we show that movies that are advertised on the Super Bowl experience about an $8.4 million increase in U.S. box office sales from a $3 million Super Bowl advertisement.
  • January-17: I gave a talk to Gary’s Book Club at the 2017 Consumer Technology Association Conference on technological disruption in the entertainment industries from Rahul Telang and my book, “Streaming, Sharing, Stealing:  Big Data and the Future of Entertainment.”
  • January-17: I gave a presentation titled “Technology, Copyright, and the Creative Industry” at the Copyright and Technology Conference in New York.