While a good chunk of people still subscribe to cable and even more people get TV programs from Hulu, Netflix and other legal alternatives, there are plenty of people in the universe who illegally download TV programs, and while pirating generally only accounts for a small percentage of the overall viewership of a show, some series’ still pull in big numbers through pirating. In 2015, these shows range from cable to subscription cable and even network TV shows. Worldwide, the shows that are most often illegally downloaded, at least on BitTorrent, are all produced by channels in the United States and come from a wide variety of genres and channels.
10. Suits, USA
While I think many fans would argue Suits is a little past its heyday in terms of quality, I’m still sticking with the show, and apparently a lot of pirates are, too. Torrentfreak reports that 2,600,000 downloads of Suits occurred this year. That’s more than the show’s overall audience in the US.
9. The Blacklist, NBC
The Blacklist is one of the most popular shows on NBC and network TV in general, so it’s no huge shock that people would be interested in the series around the world. That’s especially true because The Blacklist is a procedural with a lot of action, and action often speaks a lot louder than dramatic monologues. According to this year’s numbers, 2,900,000 people downloaded the series this year. That’s only a tiny chunk of the popular James Spader drama’s overall audience, though.
8. Supergirl, CBS
Supergirl has only been on the air since October, but the show is already proving that superhero programs are big business—even for piracy sites. The 2015 numbers show that since it premiered, Supergirl has already been high among the most torrented shows on BitTorrent in 2015, with 3,000,000 illegal downloads. Maybe that’s where some of the shows viewers have gone…
7. Vikings, History
This isn’t the first time History’s Vikings has made the most downloaded shows yearly list. I’m always surprised to see History’s well-liked hit on this list, though, as it doesn’t garner the viewership that some of the other bigger shows on this list get on a regular basis. However, its historical premise and universal story apparently speaks to a lot of people, as 3,300,000 people saw Ragnar Lothbrok and co. travel into Paris this year. Even with the piracy, the History drama does well, and the network has ordered extra episodes this year.
6. Mr. Robot, USA
USA’s freshman drama Mr. Robot has marked a brand new era of prestige programming on the US cable station. Mr. Robot made a lot of Top 10 lists this year, and a lot of the people who don’t have legal access to the series have found it elsewhere. Around 3,500,000 people have checked out the series via illegal means since it premiered last summer. Somehow, I think Elliot Anderson would approve.
5. The Flash, The CW
The Flash had a bonkers first season and things have gotten even more complex since the CW’s other superhero series returned to the schedule for Season 2 this fall. While the series is bringing in viewership in the millions, almost the same audience worldwide is illegally downloading the show each week. In 2015, 3,600,000 downloads of The Flash happened on BitTorrent. We bet they were speedy downloads, too.
4. Arrow, The CW
The Flash routinely beats Arrow in the ratings over at the CW, but around the globe, it’s apparently the hooded vigilante who has captured the hearts of pirates everywhere. All the sources indicate that 3,900,000 downloads of Arrow happened this year. Maybe it’s because Green Arrow has been prominent this fall or because Constantine guest starred, although perhaps the darker tone on Arrow simply translates better worldwide than the lighter tone of The Flash.
3. The Big Bang Theory, CBS
The Big Bang Theory has been on a roll for the last 12 months. The series ended last spring with a cliffhanger and has had plenty of relationship drama to keep people invested in 2015. While comedy tastes can differ in different parts of the world, apparently The Big Bang Theory tickles a lot of people’s funny bones in numerous places. This year, The Big Bang Theory landed third, with 4,400,000 downloads.
2. The Walking Dead, AMC
The Walking Dead is arguably the most popular show on television, but in terms of illegal downloads, it has only managed the #2 slot. Still, a whopping 6,900,000 people illegally downloaded the AMC zombie drama in 2015. I blame Glenn.
1. Game of Thrones, HBO
Last May, a report came out saying that the Game of Thrones Season 5 premiere episode drew record pirating numbers. While HBO and co. would doubtless prefer people to subscribe to HBO Go or their local cable packages, Game of Thrones is by far and away the highest illegally downloaded series of 2015, with 14,400,000 downloads.
Amazing Race & Top Chef superfan with a pinch of Disney fairy dust thrown in. If you’ve created a rom-com I’ve probably watched it.
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