Does piracy help or hurt the industry? Heading into 2014, that's the riddle that still has a variety of answers depending on who you ask. There are some who say that that being able to "sample" music (or movies or films) first leads to folks buying concert tickets, DVDs or merchandise, thus still providing a revenue stream to the creative people and content creators behind those efforts. Others say that theft is theft, and that an album or movie downloaded is still a lost album or ticket sale. Even at HBO, opinion is divided, as their most popular show is also their most illegally downloaded.
TorrentFreak has released their list of the most pirated TV shows of 2013, and leading the way is "Game Of Thrones." Earlier this year, David Petrarca, helmer behind episodes of "Game Of Thrones," "True Blood" and "Boardwalk Empire," told a panel at the Perth's Writers Festival that piracy helps create "cultural buzz" adding: "That's how they survive."
Needless to say, HBO wasn't pleased and issued their own statement shortly thereafter that made it clear in no uncertain terms how they felt about piracy: “ ’Game of Thrones’ is sold worldwide, available legally on a large variety of viewing platforms and is one of HBO’s most popular series. With that kind of success comes a great amount of social media chatter so can’t say we see an upside to illegal downloads.”
As for audiences? Clearly, whatever options are available to them legally or not, they are hitting to web to find shows to watch how they want, when they want. It's not a huge shock to see big time premium cable shows like "Breaking Bad," "The Walking Dead" and "Dexter" rank in the top ten. However, we do find it a little strange that shows that are in endless syndication like "How I Met Your Mother" and "The Big Bang Theory" are also popular. Check out the full list below.