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These Are the Shows You’re Pirating During the Pandemic

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Arya Stark has had enough of this shit.
Arya Stark has had enough of this shit.
Photo: HBO

People who steal content through pirate sites really like genre television. Like, a lot.

Parrot Analytics, which the Observer calls “a leading global content demand analytics company for the multi-platform TV business that sifts through social media, fan ratings, and piracy to figure who’s watching what,” has released a new breakdown of the most pirated TV shows worldwide. The following are listed as the top ten shows people have pirated over the past two months which, of course, have been dominated by the novel coronavirus pandemic. They are...

  1. Game of Thrones
  2. Rick and Morty
  3. My Hero Academia
  4. The Walking Dead
  5. Spongebob SquarePants
  6. The 100
  7. The Mandalorian
  8. The Flash
  9. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D
  10. Harley Quinn

That list is a bit surprising for a whole bunch of reasons, but the least of them is that Game of Thrones is number one. On the surface, you may think “Are that many people still watching Game of Thrones over a year after that awful ending?” But the show has been atop lists like this for years, has four-quadrant appeal, and is on a premium network, which makes it a little easier to access than a streaming service as they typically have built-in copyright protection. Plus, for as many people who have seen the show, there are lots that haven’t and would want to get caught up.

There’s also the strong focus not just on genre entertainment (every one of these is a “genre”—sci-fi, fantasy, horror—show), but genre entertainment aimed at younger people. There are four animated shows which all have varying levels of subversion and maturity (Harley, Spongebob, My Hero and Rick and Morty), two CW shows (100 and Flash), then a few prestige shows such as The Walking Dead and The Mandalorian. Those both sort of ride that Game of Thrones line of four-quadrant hits. Finally, there’s...Agents of SHIELD? Really? We know this current season has been better than expected but for several years it has been a show that very much has gone under the radar, especially compared to the other series on the list.

We could discuss this list for hours—it’s surprising and revealing, and also a little sad. Mostly because while seeing what shows people pirate has merit, it also highlights the limited access many users have to these shows, especially as more and more streaming services continue to segment the entertainment landscape.


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