‘Lost’, ‘Heroes’ and ‘Dexter’ Top Most Pirated Shows of 2010

Published 4 years ago by , Updated January 4th, 2011 at 12:59 am,

lost pirate flag Lost, Heroes and Dexter Top Most Pirated Shows of 2010

As the 2010 retrospectives roll by, one of the more fascinating statistics out there is online downloads. We examined the top 10 pirated movies of 2010 last week, and now BitTorrent observer TorrentFreak has released its list of the most pirated ¬†elevision shows. There’s not a lot of surprises, but the sheer volume of illicit downloads is impressive.

Network dramas Lost and Heroes take the top two spots, while cable smash-hit Dexter finishes in the money. The latter doesn’t surprise, since Dexter is only available on premium channel Showtime or pay services like iTunes and Netflix. But the top two shows, together totaling more than ten million downloads, are shown on free broadcast TV in the U.S. on ABC and NBC respectively. They’re also shown for free on both the network websites and joint-effort streaming service Hulu for weeks after their television premiere. The same can be said for eight out of the top ten pirated shows.

This brings the need for illegal downloads into question, not to mention the wisdom – Heroes was cancelled this year after its fourth season, and if TorrentFreak’s analysis is accurate, more people watched it via illegal download than on television. If fans wish to keep their favorite TV shows in the black and on the schedule, they should consider watching or at least recording them on their first television run.

Here’s the full list:

1. Lost – 5,940,000 downloads

2. Heroes – 5,480,000 downloads

3. Dexter – 3,880,000 downloads

4. The Big Bang Theory – 3,270,000 downloads

5. House – 2,610,000 downloads

6. How I Met Your Mother – 2,490,000 downloads

7. 24 – 2,240,000 downloads

8. True Blood – 1,920,000 downloads

9. Glee – 1,700,000 downloads

10. Family Guy – 1,620,000 downloads

The rest of the list is made up of predictably popular network comedies and dramas, with the exception of HBO’s True Blood. Surprise hit Glee is the only new show on the list, and it’s an oddball in a demographic that skews towards the younger male crowd. Comedy favorites The Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother and Family Guy are well-represented, along with House and the final season of 24.

Again, all of these except for True Blood are available as free streams or cheap, legal downloads 24 hours after their initial television run. That may be why torrent downloads are down about 10% from last year, when Heroes topped the list with 6,580,000 downloads – although once again, more people downloaded the superhero drama than watched its TV airings.

Another possible explanation for the dip in torrented shows is a rise of illegal stream sites, which broadcast full TV episodes commercial-free and on-demand. These are becoming more popular because better streaming technology and more bandwidth allows for faster, better viewing. Streaming sites are also much harder to track, emboldening copyright violators who might fear retribution from intellectual property owners.

Source: TorrentFreak

TAGS: Dexter, Heroes, Lost
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  1. It’s doubtful that piracy had much impact on Heroes’ cancellation. Pirates are an easy target, but I think in this case, we can only blame the creators of the show and the network itself. The creators must be blamed for the seasons that led up to the final one (which I thought was an excellent season) and the network must be blamed, for, well, being NBC.

    • Tim was no longer interested in the show,he wanted to focus on other shows(new) and its suprising that his upcoming series is nearly similar to heroes.

  2. I never got pirating, if you wanted to watch something why don’t you support it financially so it continues? Cheapos.

    • when i did DL heroes, i was on campus at school. They only provided basic cable (no dvr service)I also had a job that interferred with me catching it live. So i had no choice really. But im sure for the most part, thats not the case.

      • What they should do is offer the downloads on the website with the same commercial options as if you watched online (with not being able to fast forward them like a dvd does for the copyright or FBI warning). I dont like the idea that my internet connection could fail and then interupt my watching or if i have to come back to it later i need to watch the commercials again at the points ive already gotten to. Plus this way they have a good way of keeping track of how the ads go out. Most poeple would be ok with this and not go through the trouble of other download methods

  3. It’s easy to say that maybe a show wouldn’t be cancelled if you watched it on TV rather than download it, but TV ratings are far more complicated than that.

    The Rating system isn’t a good representation of how many people actually watched a show. Considering not everyone counts. For instance I don’t count. No matter what I watch on TV my viewing of a show will not count. Nielsons rating system is only select homes. This is more of a critique on how very flawed the ratings system is rather than how pirates are ruining the world.

    By the way you say people could watch it for free on TV or on the website, but as far as I can tell this makes no mention of what seasons specifically are being downloaded just that the show it’s self is. A large number of those could very well be earlier seasons that people DL to try and catch up on the show with. Or since the sites usually only store the last two episodes anything before that and your screwed if you didn’t get on the site to see them in time you would need to DL to catch up. Also some times some countries or even some towns with in the US don’t get certain shows and they have to DL. For instance I know there are some town that do not receive the CW.

    I’m sure their are countries all around the world that don’t get Heroes or Lost and have to DL to see them.

    • all good points.

    • In Nielson’s defense, I was actually randomly contacted over the phone to ask if I would be interested in participating. I don’t know if this is how they do it all the time or if only a percentage of their ratings come from random folks like myself but it was kind of cool. They FedEx a packet of logs and all you have to do is write down what you watched for two weeks. They send you one for each tv in the house and anytime you watch something, just write down what you watched and when. Even sent me $25 at the end. Like I said, I don’t know if it’s only a small percentage of the ratings that are tabulated that way and most of it only comes from specific homes and markets, just thought I’d get it out there that atleast some of it is random viewers.

    • I think you just nailed it with your last point. Coming from a Mexican I can tell you I prefer to download US TV series since on my local cable company I’ll never get them on HD.

      I can tell you that a lot of people here in Mexico were big fans of Heroes. Most of them being geeks as myself would reach out to the torrents to get our weekly dose. :D

      The same goes for Lost!

      Remember… globalization is here to stay! So you can be certain that a big percentage of the downloads came from outside of the US ;)

  4. It’s a shame some got cancelled, but it merely reflect’s changing patterns of entertainment consumption in the 21st century. Rather than complaining, networks should take notice of this and focus on these new attitudes.

    Piracy is not killing shows – it’s the ignorant executives that still live in the 1990′s.

  5. sucks that heroes got cancelled