Top 10 stolen films and TV shows of 2007

by Paul William Tenny

I came across a post on Torrentfreak via NewTeeVee (a site you should consider scoping out) listing the top ten pirated films and TV series of 2007, which is worth mentioning for two reasons. The first being that a couple of the shows on the TV list are -- depending on how you view things -- ratings challenged, to say the least.

All the people stealing these shows may do well to consider that if they acted like responsible adults and paid for this stuff like everybody else does, then these shows wouldn't end up getting canceled so often.

Dexter, #9 on the list, is Showtime's most viewed show and set a personal ratings record for them in both the second season premier and finale. It also gets so few viewers that even The CW wouldn't touch it, in comparison. The most popular episode torrent for Dexter was supposedly downloaded from a single site over 400,000 times last year, which is darn near half the number of people that pay for and watch the show on cable legally.
If everyone who illegally copied that series would stand up and support a show they obviously enjoy, it would virtually guarantee that Dexter would remain a staple of Showtime's schedule for a very, very long time.

Instead, people choose to steal, and deprive it of nearly 50% of its actual real-world fan base.

The same could be said for NBC's favorite son, Heroes, which tops the list with nearly 2.5 million downloads for the single most popular episode torrent. That show has struggled somewhat in its strike-shortened second season and could have benefited from those extra viewers to shore up network confidence.

While 2.5 million extra eyeballs per week wouldn't constitute a 50% increase for Heroes, when lobbed on top of the 10-12 million people that already watch, could easily turn advertisers heads and convince NBC to put the spin-off back on the schedule.

Although NewTeeVee thought enough to mention that some of this year's flops were on the most downloaded list for feature films, the numbers really don't mean as much for movies as they do for television. Next, which was the 7th most downloaded flick last year, only had 354,000 downloads, which would have translated to an extra $3.5 million in box office receipts -- nothing to write home about.

However, it would have made a more significant difference if those thefts were translated into DVD sales, rather than theater tickets.

The second thing I thought worth mentioning was Torrentfreaks missive that essentially blames piracy on the studios, which should be repudiated sternly.

As we have pointed out before, the entertainment industry should learn how to embrace technology and compete with piracy, instead of fighting its customers. The rise of illegal downloading is a signal that customers want something that is not available through other channels, it's more about availability than the fact that it's free, as illustrated by the huge number of downloads TV-shows have.

This is a common excuse made by people who simply don't want to pay for what they've stolen.

A number of services have been available for years that allow you to download movies, while nearly every popular broadcast TV show is available for free, streaming from half a dozen different network owned websites, not to mention all the shows that can be purchased outright from Apple's iTunes and Amazon's Unbox services.

NBC alone launched three different services inside the span of five weeks in between October and November of '07.

The industry, slowly at first but gaining speed now, has begun to address the consumer need for digital delivery of television and film. Missteps have been made in regards to pricing, DRM, and implementation, but that's going to happen no matter what.

To say that broadcast networks and Hollywood studios haven't embraced technology is a lie and an excuse to continue stealing in the face of many different legal alternatives, and even without them, there is simply no excuse to steal.
in Digital Media, Film, Streaming Video, Television


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