The user base for torrenting services may tend to skew younger than the average media consumer, but that didn’t stop the two most-talked about TV series of 2013 from also becoming the two most-torrented TV series of 2013. The series finale of Breaking Bad and the season three finale of Game Of Thrones stood as the two most-downloaded episodes from torrent sites according to TorrentFreak.
Some may try to link some of the social media popularity of these two shows to their widespread proliferation on torrent sites, which allow users to download content from peers who have previously uploaded it. Jeff Bewkes, CEO of HBO owner Time Warner, went as far as to call the piracy of Game Of Thrones “better than an Emmy.”
The truth is that a popular show is a popular show. Perhaps easy, illegal access on the Internet has provided a slight boost to cable shows (which made up seven of the top ten most pirated programs of the year), but the third variable is quality television that compels viewers to watch, whether legally or otherwise.