Breaking Bad is finally back and the people are rejoicing. Twitter exploded as expected. Memes are already up and running. Another group of people who are excited Breaking Bad is back? People who pirate their TV shows. Granted, the latest episode from the final arc is less than 24 hours old, but reports indicate a great deal of piracy has already taken place as people are clearly eager to catch up with Walt and the gang, regardless if new episodes are being shown in their region or not.
According to data culled by Torrent Freak, once the episode aired, it was passed around digitally much like Spain’s national team passes the soccer ball around. The results of Torrent Freak’s data crunching reveal that even though the show was available in many regions, it didn’t stop people from downloading the new episode by the digital truckload:
Just a few hours after the first unauthorized copy of Breaking Bad appeared online, 80,000 people were sharing the episode simultaneously through the most popular torrent file. After 12 hours, half a million people had already grabbed a copy via BitTorrent, and this number is increasing rapidly.
The findings further reveal that 16 percent of this file-sharing took place in Australia, even though the new Breaking Bad was available on a pay-per-view basis. Furthermore, despite the fact the episode was shown in the United States–provided you have a cable or satellite subscription–another 25-plus percent of the downloading traffic came from North America, 16 percent of which originating stateside. Clearly, not everyone has a cable subscription, nor do they want to wait for Netflix to catch up.
Even those who didn’t have to wait long for Netflix–I’m looking at you, UK viewers–still preferred to get their copy via file-sharing. Torrent Freak reveals that 8.5 percent of the Breaking Bad file-sharing traffic came from the United Kingdom.
With that in mind, what is AMC to do to curb such behavior? Access to its highly desirable show has been dramatically increased, and yet, people still choose to download. They even made the episode available on their website, but yet, downloading is still rampant. Because of the broadcast availability is largely dependent on a subscription with a cable television provider, something many people are turning away from, does this mean online distribution that runs concurrent with the television (or theatrical) premiere is perhaps the only legitimate tool to truly combat piracy?