‘Breaking Bad’ Finale Breaks Series Piracy Record: TorrentFreak

500,000-Plus Illegal Copies Of Final Episode Were Downloaded Within 12-Hour Period

Sunday night’s finale of Emmy award-winning series Breaking Bad didn’t just break a viewing record for AMC. The episode also drew a record-setting number of pirated downloads for the series.

Just 12 hours after the first copy of the finale appeared online, more than 500,000 people have already downloaded the episode via a range of torrent sites, reported TorrentFreak, a news site focused on file-sharing and privacy and copyright issues.

According to a TorrentFreak data sample, the most illegal downloaders were based in Australia (18%), followed by the U.S. (9.3%), the United Kingdom (9.3%), where Netflix subscribers could access the episode the day after its U.S. pay-TV premiere. At the peak, more than 85,000 people from around the globe were sharing a single copy of the finale, still well behind the record sharing of 170,000 people sharing a single copy of Game of Thrones, the site noted. So, HBO gets to retain that dubious honor.

Despite widespread availability of online legal versions of the Breaking Bad finale, people were apparently driven to pirate it based on its broad sources of availability, tied in with old habits. Those two factors evidently collided in this instance, the site said.

“[E]ven among those who have a Netflix subscription, many prefer to grab a copy via torrent sites as they find it more convenient,” TorrentFreak noted. “In other cases people may find a pay TV subscription too expensive, or they simply prefer to watch the show at their own leisure instead of following rigid TV-schedules.”

Sunday’s finale of drew a series record 10.3 million viewers, according to AMC.