An average episode of the hit series LOST is downloaded more than 500,000 times on BitTorrent, making it by far the most popular TV-show shared over the Internet, and one with approximately 5% of all its viewers watching via BitTorrent.
Determining what the most popular TV show is on BitTorrent is not an easy job. While companies like Infofilter and BigChampagne generate daily and weekly stats, I’ve found out that these are not really accurate. Both companies use an automated stats collecting procedure which obviously needs some further calibration.
So I spent a week tracking the most popular TV torrents, and LOST came out on top.
For every popular TV-show I’ve summed up all the torrents with 100+ seeds one week after the release. Initially I also planned to count torrents with less seeds, but that didn’t add much to the total number of downloads. However, it does mean that the actual figures might be slightly higher (about 5%).
These stats are from public trackers only, so the actual number of downloads is actually a lot higher (nearing 1 million downloads). However counting public trackers only will give a good impression of what the most popular TV torrents are.
This is the top 3 of last weeks most popular TV torrents).
Eztv’s “Lost S03E04 HDTV XviD-XOR” torrent was by far the most popular, and was downloaded more than 270,000 times.
The higher quality release (hr.hdtv) is becoming more and more popular and was downloaded 60,000 times. Hr.hdtv releases have a higher resolution, most often around 960Ã—540 which is half the size of the original HDTV broadcast. A 45 minute show is usually 700MB instead of 350MB like the other releases.
Other shows that are worth mentioning are: Battlestar Galactica, Smallville, Desperate Housewives, South Park, Weeds, Jericho and Nip Tuck.
You could see this as the rest of the top 10. However, it is harder to make an accurate list as the total number of downloads decreases.
The popularity of online TV distribution has not been unnoticed. Apple’s iTunes store sold over 45 million TV shows in its first year, and more and more content distributors are currently exploring ways to sell their shows online. And I’m sure we will see a decline in illegal downloads as soon as they come up with a product that can compete with the “illegal” TV torrents.