The Washington Post

Emmy winners also score big with pirates

Emmy Award winners and nominees scored big among content pirates in the last week, with shows like AMC’s “Breaking Bad” and ABC’s “Scandal” seeing huge increases in the illegal theft of their shows.

In the week after the 66th Prime 66th Primetime Emmys aired on August 25th, illegal file-sharing more than tripled for winners and nominees “Breaking Bad,”  HBO’s “True Detective” and “Newsroom,” Netflix’s “House of Cards” and Showtime’s “Homeland,” according to data analytics firm CEG TEK International.

The findings underscore a growing concern among television providers — even online services such as Netflix that many industry executives hoped would curb illegal file-sharing.

Winning television’s biggest honor directly affects a show’s popularity among pirates. “Breaking Bad,” had ranked sixth worldwide for pirated shows — well behind top pirated series “Game of Thrones.” But the day after it won in the best drama, best actor, best supporting actress and best supporting actor categories, the rate of the show’s illegal file-shares increased 412%, boosting its rankings to the second-most pirated show in the world.

“Typically, piracy peaks on weekends, but of the 50 shows we monitored, 47 were pirated more as a result of the Primetime Emmy Awards broadcast,” said Jon Nicolini, CTO of CEG TEK said in a release. “Clearly, the prestige of the Emmys is alive and well.

It appears losing the awards shows hurt (depending on your point of view) in popularity. Netflix’s “Orange Is the New Black” had ranked third in illegal U.S. downloads. After the Emmys, where it was overlook by the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences,  it fell in the rankings to fifth place.

Cecilia Kang is a senior technology correspondent for The Washington Post.



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Cecilia Kang · September 2, 2014