Not a List Anyone Wants To Lead: 2009’s Most-Pirated TV Show

Jan 5, 2010  •  Post A Comment

For the second year, an NBC series has taken the title of most-pirated TV show, with 6.58 million downloads from file-sharing sites for a single episode in 2009, reports the Torrentfreak blog.

The show is "Heroes."

This year, for the first time, both NBC’s “Heroes” and Showtime’s “Dexter” lodged a single-episode download that surpassed their average weekly viewership. “Heroes” draws on average 5.9 million viewers weekly on TV.

–Elizabeth Jensen


  1. The real question is going to become what drives the production of new shows.
    Currently the value of entertainment programming is so that viewers watch the attendant ads.
    But in recent years ratings for Heroes has fallen off a cliff, and it appears that many of the series’ fans now steal the content instead.
    Unfortunately, this also means NBC is making next to nothing on the pricey series.
    At a certain point people will learn they can steal programming but that then means no new programming.
    Unfortunately for the hundreds involved in actually making Heroes that lesson will be learned far too late, and those stealing content will just move on to the next shiny new show, potentially destroying it.
    I fear the future of scripted broadcast content is limited at best as networks move to even more inexpensive reality content.

  2. Bill, if you read the linked article, it notes that the overwhelming majority of those downloads are going to viewers outside of the US.
    Those viewers are downloading because those shows aren’t available in their country (or won’t be available for months), or because they want to see shows in the original English language versions instead of getting stuck with the dubbed versions that will eventually air on their domestic television channels.
    So let’s put a good amount of the fault where it belongs — with an international television industry that persists in attempting to maintain obsolete distribution models. The business needs to find ways of monetizing these viewers by legally offering these programs worldwide in a timely manner.

  3. I understand a majority are outside the US, but at the same time:
    1) Some idiot in the US is making the episodes available, and
    2) Every viewer who downloads the episode, whether in the US or outside, rather than watch it when broadcast, helps to assure the death of the series.
    If Heroes was still a breakaway hit, this wouldn’t matter; the fact that it’s barely been renewed the past two seasons and that it is a rather expensive series for NBC to produce will spell its doom.

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