Ah the internet. You've given us so much. The entire human collection of knowledge at our finger tips, instantaneous communication between distant continents, thousands upon thousands of cat GIFs, and of course, TV shows whenever we want to watch them.
Unfortunately, unless you're using an 'on demand' service, the last thing in that list is a little bit illegal. However, breaking the law hasn't deterred a lot of people from downloading their favorite shows online. Variety has just released the latest piracy figures compiled by tracking firm, CEG TEK. They scoured BitTorrent to discover how many people were sharing the shows on a weekly basis. Unsurprisingly, a lot of television's biggest shows grace the list. Check out the graph below:
What is perhaps most interesting is that Game of Thrones is pirated twice as frequently as The Walking Dead, despite the latter constantly winning the ratings war. There's probably a few reasons for this, such as Game of Thrones more global appeal, the wider availability of AMC compared to HBO in the USA and the fact Game of Thrones is currently mid-season.
In a way, these figures are a kind of flattering compliment, as it suggests people are returning to the show on a weekly basis. Indeed, last year HBO's Head of Programming, Michael Lombardo, expressed it wasn't a major problem, stating:
I probably shouldn't be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts. The demand is there. And it certainly didn't negatively impact the DVD sales. [Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network.
However, there is of course a darker side to all this. Many of these shows depend on advertising revenue to pay the bills, however downloading and streaming obviously removes advertisement as a feasible revenue stream. Will we see more product placement as a result? It's a possibility.
Of course, these figures are only for downloads of the series, not for streaming it online. This second way of illegally watching shows online is almost certainly a much more common and widespread method, meaning, in reality, there's much more piracy going on in the high-seas of the internet than originally meets the eye.
What do you think? Are you concerned about internet piracy? Remember don't be too honest. The NSA are watching.