The Top 10 Most Pirated TV-Shows Of 2011 + Illegal Download Trends

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by Tambay A. Obenson
December 21, 2011 11:26 AM
5 Comments
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Torrent Freak's annual roundup of the most pirated television shows of the year (full list below) has been making the rounds across the web this morning, and while non of the titles on the list are what we'd call *black shows*, a few feature black characters in significant roles.

But regardless of that, I thought it's still a worthwhile list to share.

First, some notable trends from Torrent Freak's report to highlight:

- The percentage of TV-show downloaders, from the US in particular, has steadily declined in recent years. This is in part thanks to alternative viewing options such as Hulu and Netflix.

- In other regions, such as Australia and Europe, the demand for US TV-shows remains strong. 

So, as already noted, the existence of Hulu and Netlix appear to be helping to decrease piracy, which suggests that entertainment companies will find it in their best interest to enter distribution partnerships with online streaming sites like the aforementioned, and to make their content available within a reasonable amount of time after airing on TV networks. Otherwise, audiences will go look for the content elsewhere, and that often means illegal downloads.

As Torrent Freak says, the challenge for TV companies is to come up with a business model that allows users to consume what they want at any given time, without losing revenue in the process. Emphasis on the word "challenge," because it is one.

Below is a list of the most downloaded TV-shows of 2011 (per episode), together with the viewer average for TV in the US, collected by TorrentFreak from several sources, including reports from all public BitTorrent trackers (fascinating when the number of illegal downloads per episode matches or supasses the average audience size per episode):

rank show downloads est. US TV viewers
torrentfreak.com
1 Dexter 3,620,000 2,190,000
2 Game of Thrones 3,400,000 3,040,000
3 The Big Bang Theory 3,090,000 15,980,000
4 House 2,760,000 9,780,000
5 How I Met Your Mother 2,410,000 12,220,000
6 Glee 2,200,000 9,210,000
7 The Walking Dead 2,060,000 7,260,000
8 Terra Nova 1,910,000 9,220,000
9 True Blood 1,850,000 5,530,000
10 Breaking Bad 1,730,000 2,580,000
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5 Comments

  • cruz777 | December 22, 2011 4:37 PMReply

    what chazbro said.

    i don't bother with torrents and i stopped downloading shows, it was a waste of hd space. more people just go to illegal streaming sites, where they can watch the latest shows (an older hard to find ones) from the u.s and u.k., as well as, movies from around the world.

    if putlocker/sockshare, megavideo, novamov, videoweed, and other hosting sites (not too be confused with the actual pirate streaming sites that provide the links to them) released stats, it would be more accurate and much larger

  • chazbro | December 22, 2011 1:50 PMReply

    Screw Hulu & Netflix. Screw commercials, too. TorrentFreak is all about torrents. You guys forgot about the other ways that a person can pirate. Maybe more Americans are starting to use _those_other_ways_ that you forgot to mention.

  • Geneva Girl | December 21, 2011 5:06 PMReply

    T'Challa hit the nail on the head: Hulu is for American viewers only. I can understand a studio's desire not to cannibalize their overseas shows, but not every country buys every show and, if they do, it's often woefully out of date. Fortunately, the British channels are often airing American shows within days of their US broadcasts.

    Shows should be available whenever and wherever a viewers wants to watch them. Charge me. Show me commercials. Just supply what I'm demanding.

  • monique | December 21, 2011 12:54 PMReply

    What T'Challa said with a caveat, I've noticed that Netflix has been getting more premium cable series added to their lists, where you don't have to wait to long after a season ends to watch. They also run some basic cable series as they air. Speaking of, Starz actually streams some of its original shows on there as it airs, they did that with both seasons of Spartacus. For the first season you could actually see it at midnight on Friday's then they changed only allowing Netflix to stream it right after it aired on television; I guess that was to cut down on spoilers.

  • T'Challa | December 21, 2011 11:49 AMReply

    Many people don't have/can't afford/won't pay for the premium cable channels that shows like Dexter & Game of Thrones air on.

    Other sites like Hulu, either don't have the latest shows, or they block non US residents from viewing them.

    People simply want to watch their favorite shows at their own convenience, and right now "illegal" downloading is the only thing that provides that..

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