‘Under The Dome’ Piracy Spikes Amid CBS-TWC Dispute

Piracy Rates For CBS Series Shot Up 34% Over the Weekend, According to TorrentFreak Data

The ongoing feud between Time Warner Cable and CBS apparently has created an unintended side effect: a surge in piracy of CBS new hit series Under The Dome.

That’s according to data culled by TorrentFreak, which found that the blackout of CBS for about 3.2 million TWC customers in markets such as New York, Los Angeles and Dallas contributed to a 34% spike in file-sharing piracy rates for Under The Dome over the weekend. Since Friday (Aug. 2) CBS also has been blocking TWC high-speed Internet customers from accessing full episodes of CBS shows via the Web.

Of all sampled downloaders in the U.S., 10.9% came from the blackout regions for last week’s episode, and jumped to 14.6% for Monday’s episode, a 34% increase, TorrentFreak said in a blog post.

In New York City, one of the largest markets affected by the blackout, the relative piracy rate more than doubled -- from 1.3% of all U.S. downloads last week, to 3% for the episode that aired after the blackout.   

“With hundreds of thousands of downloads, Under The Dome is one of the most pirated TV-shows at the moment,” TorrentFreak said, but acknowledged that more tracking would be required to show a long-term effect and whether the results are the same for other CBS shows.

“While one should always be careful of drawing strong conclusions from city-based data, especially when we don’t know how many downloaders are Time Warner Cable subscribers, these initial results do suggest that the blackout resulted in a local piracy surge,” added the site, which based its findings on two data samples taken in Los Angeles, New York City, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit and Pittsburgh.

CBS claims that the dispute has had a minimal impact so far, announcing Monday that its own research found that it had seen a 1% drop in viewership through the first three nights of the blackout. Monday's episode of Under The Dome drew 10.2 million viewers, down from 11 million the week before, but was still the most watched show of the night.