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Orange is the New Black made its grand return for Season 2 last Friday on Netflix, and while the series was pirated quite a bit in its first couple of days -- especially by comparison to Season 1 -- from what's being reported, it still falls short of Netflix's more pirated drama House of Cards.
Variety reported the exact numbers, citing the piracy-tracking firm Excipio, which notes that after two days of being available, Orange is the New Black was illegally downloaded by 55,668 individuals over peer-to-peer networks in the U.S., Canada, the U.K. and Australia. While the number is down from the more than 90,000 people who pirated House of Cards' second season earlier this year, it's up x10 from the under-4,000 people who illegally downloaded Orange is the New Black in the first two days that followed its Season 1 debut.
It's not hard to understand why the number of illegal downloads would increase so drastically for the same space of time from Season 1 to Season 2. The series has picked up a lot of buzz since it launched its first season in 2013. While viewers might not have been scrambling to watch it when it first launched, there's been plenty of time for Orange to build its fan base over the last year, allowing for more people to be excited to watch it right away when it came back for Season 2. While Netflix doesn't typically share their ratings information publicly, the spike in illegal downloads may be a fair indication that a similar spike occurred among actual Netflix subscribers who streamed Season 2 over the weekend. Of course, we have to keep in mind that the download figures factor in more than just U.S. viewers.
As Variety points out, Orange is the New Black falls behind House of Cards among people who are pirating it, but both series fall far behind Game of Thrones, which had 1.17 million unique internet addresses downloading torrents of the HBO fantasy series within the span of 15 hours following the Season 4 premiere. 1.17 million. Between the series' popularity, which has reached an all-time high at HBO, not only for the series but among all the premium cable channel's original dramas (including The Sopranos), and the costliness of HBO -- the subscription price is higher, plus it requires a pricy cable package on top of that -- it's not entirely hard to see why Game of Thrones would be significantly higher than Netflix's new dramas, which are popular but still finding their footing.
It's not all about cost, however. In fact, accessibility plays its part in what's being illegally downloaded and where. As Variety points out, Netflix is not currently available in Australia, which could be part of the reason why piracy is a bigger issue there as it relates to Orange is the New Black and any other original drama Netflix is offering. The same likely applies to Game of Thrones.