The 10 Most Pirated TV Shows of 2012
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The 10 Most Pirated TV Shows of 2012

By Dustin Rowles | Trade News | December 26, 2012 | Comments ()


Here's more evidence to suggest that the cable industry needs to fix its sh*t, i.e., offer the ability to subscribe to their channels, a la carte, and online. I'm not saying that, if viewers had the ability to pay to see "Game of Thrones" without spending $100 to subscribe to cable, all of the illegal pirating of their shows would disappear, but I am saying that -- if that were an option -- there wouldn't be as many downloads of "Game of Thrones" as there are viewers, or MORE downloads of "Dexter" than there are television viewers.

Of course, the fact that "The Big Bang Theory," "How I Met Your Mother," "Fringe," and "Revolution," are being downloaded with such frequency despite the fact that they are available online for free (as long as you watch the commercials) may suggest that it simply doesn't matter. Even when offered a free, ethical means with which to watch television, downloaders will choose the more convenient, illegal option.

Here are the 10 Most Pirates TV Shows of 2012.

1. Game of Thrones: 4.2 million downloads; 4.2 million viewers

2. Dexter: 3.85 million downloads; 2.75 million viewers

3. The Big Bang Theory: 3.2 million downloads; 15.2 million viewers

4. How I Met Your Mother: 2.96 million downloads; 10.1 million viewres

5. Breaking Bad: 2.45 million downloads; 2.9 million downloads

6. The Walking Dead: 2.5 million downloads; 10.8 million viewers

7. Homeland: 2.4 million downloads; 2.36 million viewers

8. House 2.3 million downloads; 9.79 million viewers

9. Fringe: 2.28 million downloads; 3.12 million viewers

10. Revolution: 2.13 million viewers; 11.65 million viewers

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • L.O.V.E.

    "Here’s more evidence to suggest that the cable industry needs to fix its
    sh*t, i.e., offer the ability to subscribe to their channels, a la
    carte, and online."

    The whole reason why HBO and Showtime pay for these shows, besides using the Emmy trophies for sexual pleasure, is to bring subscriptions to its cable packages where they make BANK. A la carte just means eating away at its subscription base. If it made financial sense, they would do it. Just like they determined it made financial sense to sell seasons as dvd's, and to make all the shows available through your DVR or through "On The Go".

    They may yet decide to a la carte purchasing, but only if it makes them more money, i.e., not necessarily in the consumers' best interests.

    I get all the HBO shows for a certain price now, plus all the movies and the DVR and "On The Go". In theory, a la carte sound great, but I got a feeling that when they do go "a la carte" it will be like trying to buy a Porsche, all those little add ons will add up to a small fortune. Then they will tell you about the great discount you get when you "bundle", and you're right back where you started at (accept for a 5% price increase).

  • jannymac

    There has to be an issue with "reporting media" which happens instantly and is world wide, to "watching media," which is delayed due to licensing. It needs to get synced up better since reporting on media drives viewing.

  • Ben

    yeah sorry the 'available for free' means jack shit to anyone outside of america because they just... aren't.

  • Idle Primate

    streaming uses my (metered) bandwidth with nothing to show for it. downloading leaves me with a copy to watch anytime. even if i had streaming legal shows here in canada, i would likely still download.

  • Sirilicious

    This post might be a good incentive to post a poll to measure how many pajibans (or pajeyebans) are not residing in Americuh. Or maybe you already know because you monitor IP-addresses of frequent visitors and just decide to ignore the few (?) non-merkans.

  • Frankly

    No "Downton Abbey"? Everyone I know has seen the third season already.

  • Ozioma

    And the Christmas special too.

  • Green Lantern

    That's a fascinating list, and mostly series I wouldn't expect.

    "Fringe" and "Revolution"? Really??

  • People download the shows to watch them offline. To watch on a portable device without an internet connection. Not saying it's right, but that's why even shows that can be watched online for free are still downloaded as Torrents.

  • alwaysanswerb

    True. Personally, I'll also download something if I want to GIF it, but that's usually after I've watched it elsewhere already.

  • Sirilicious

    I live in Europe. Where can i watch these series for free (with commercials)? Please don't say Hulu 'cause i will kick you in the shins..

  • cinekat

    project free tv works at the moment...

  • Sirilicious

    hhmm, i googled it for me. The links i was led to seemed a bit dodgy and not exactly legal. And then i had to restart my computer cause it was acting all weird.

  • Sirilicious

    Haven't heard of that before. Would you link me or would that result in a LMGTFY type situation? :o)

  • Return of Santitas

    I am able to get on Hulu in the UK by using hot spot shield. It works most of the time for me. Although Game of Thrones and Homeland are not on Hulu.

  • Sirilicious

    I should have added 'legally' in my comment. I am perfectly happy with my bittorrent. Hulu doesn't want me watching their stuff for free, so that is not an ethical, legal way to get my TV.

  • Mariazinha

    One reason people still download stuff available legally and for free might be that it rarelly works if you're outside of the US.
    Wich is where most people live. :P

  • A-schaef

    Legal ways to watch television rarely work in Canada.

  • Idle Primate


  • Big Bang Theory? Really? And I actually like the show (ph, shut up), but isn't that thing on like 8 hours a day on 20 different channels? Eesh.

  • Green Lantern

    Amen, Figgy!

  • APOCooter

    The thing about network shows that are available online is that usually there are only two or three episodes available to watch (at least, that's the case for HIMYM and TBBT [shut up]). So if you've missed more than the past two, your only other choice is to pirate it.

    That being said, if something is available for free in a legal matter, I simply don't understand why one would download it. Commercials? Shit, even IE has tabbed browsing now; if you're smart enough to use bittorrent, you're smart enough to browse in another tab during commercials.

  • space_oddity

    Honestly, I expect that most of the torrenting of things like Big Bang Theory come from outside the US, where it isn't available for free, and generally broadcast on some sort of delay after the original US broadcast. (I do the same thing with British TV... Currently enjoying the new season of "Peep Show"... shhh)

  • e jerry powell

    Delayed for months, in most cases. The funny thing is that ITV/BBC/Sky don't do regional web blackouts for the programs they export to the U.S. (which is how I caught up on the exquisitely trashy Footballers' Wives so quickly before ITV/BBC America shortened the turnaround period).

  • Carlito

    You hear that, networks? I had no other choice but to pirate. IT WAS COMING RIGHT FOR US!

  • John G.

    The morons who watch Big Bang Theory have figured out how to torrent?

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