Piracy continues to be a major problem

As 2013 draws to a close, TorrentFreak has published their annual list of the most-pirated TV-shows. Unsurprisingly top of the list was HBO’s Game of Thrones, closely trailed by Breaking Bad (which aired its final season ever this year).

According to TorrentFreak:

  • the estimated download numbers are per single episode of the most downloaded TV-shows worldwide (per single episode) for 2013;
  • the download numbers are estimated by TorrentFreak based on several sources, including download statistics reported by public BitTorrent trackers;
  • online streaming and cyberlocker downloads are not included in the estimated download data since there are no public sources to draw data from; and
  • the total piracy numbers will therefore be significantly higher.

We have included the ‘Aus Broadcaster’ column (to show which channel broadcasts the content on a ‘first run’ basis in the Australian market) in the below list for convenience to our Australian readers.

Top 10 Piracy List

The above figures indicate that digital piracy continues to be a major problem worldwide for content creators and distributors (and no doubt locally as well – see more here). For example, an HD episode of the final season of Breaking Bad retails at A$3.49 on the Australian iTunes store. According to TorrentFreak, the most pirated episode of Breaking Bad was downloaded 4.2 million times worldwide. Using the Australian iTunes store episode retail price, this equates to $14,658,000 in lost sales for the producers/distributors of Breaking Bad.

Current state of play

In 2013, we have seen Australian networks dramatically improve their ‘fast-tracking’ of US-made shows. For example, Foxtel’s Showcase broadcast shows such as Dexter within minutes of their US broadcast. tenplay also had a similar strategy for the season premiere of Homeland. These are encouraging signs for Australian consumers and will hopefully lead to reduced digital piracy rates in Australia.

Also with the number of catch-up services available in Australia growing, including the rumored launch of Netflix, the number of illegal downloads in Australia will hopefully decrease over the short term.

Looking Ahead

The 2013 list of TV’s most illegally downloaded episodes shows that the worldwide battle against digital piracy is not over and content producers/distributors and lawmakers must continue to work together to create frameworks that help reduce digital piracy rates.

At the end of the day, digital piracy is tantamount to stealing and it must be stopped.


‘Game of Thrones’ Most Pirated TV-Show of 2013

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