A Snapshot of the Public BitTorrent Landscape

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In a few months BitTorrent will celebrate its tenth anniversary, and in these years it has become the preferred technology to share files online. Today we document a piece of BitTorrent history with one of the most elaborate overviews of the files currently available on public trackers.

When we first started reporting on BitTorrent late 2005, the BitTorrent landscape was totally different from what it is today. There were just a few hundred thousands files being shared, compared to the millions of files that are out there today.

To document the ongoing evolution of BitTorrent and the files people share, today we present a snapshot of the BitTorrent landscape at the end of 2010. We believe that this is the most elaborate and detailed classification of the files currently available on BitTorrent.

The data is gathered with help from BitSnoop and comes from thousands of BitTorrent trackers. It includes (nearly) all torrents that can be downloaded from public torrent sites today, including those that were not active at the time our snapshot was taken.

We start off with an overview of the number of torrents and the associated file-sizes, separated into five broad categories. Later, we will take a close look at some of the sub categories such as TV, movies, books and different types of gaming platforms.

Torrent Files Available Publicly on BitTorrent, December 2010
category torrents % data %
Audio 2,215,469 21.3% 845.0 TB 7.0%
Video 5,507,266 52.9% 9,151.5 TB 76.0%
Software 975,192 9.4% 334.4 TB 9.8%
Games 340,416 3.3% 657.8 TB 5.5%
Other 1,377,560 13.2% 1,049.3 TBp 8.7%
Total 10,415,903 100% 12,037.9 TB 100%

Below are the same categories again, but now with the number of peers who have downloaded the complete file and continue to share it (seeders), and the peers who are currently downloading the files (leechers).

Seeders / Leechers on BitTorrent, December 2010
category seeders % leechers %
Audio 3,759,006 18.6% 1,119,027 11.2%
Video 12,857,328 63.6% 7,337,257 73.5%
Software 1,396,979 6.9% 401,404 4.0%
Games 737,688 3.6% 412,812 4.1%
Other 1,460,175 7.2% 709,466 7.1%
Total 20,211,176 100% 9,979,966 100%

The data above shows us that the number of public torrents exceeds at least 10 million and that close to 30 million peers were sharing a torrent at the time this snapshot was taken.

We also find that video content is by far the most popular category on BitTorrent. The ‘video’ category contains more than half of all torrents available, and two thirds of all active BitTorrent users are downloading or sharing video content.

In terms of available files, ‘games’ is the smallest category with just 340,416 torrents, but in terms of active BitTorrent users ‘software’ is at the bottom with 4 percent. In total, all available files on BitTorrent add up to a massive 12,037.9 TB.

Let’s drill down a bit more, and take a look at the different subcategories. It has to be noted that not all torrents are categorized into a subcategory, and these files will be ignored below.

Movies vs. TV

Movies are by far the largest ‘video’ subcategory with 2,012,432 torrents, followed by TV which lists 1,011,607 torrent files. In terms of downloaders this difference is even more pronounced. Movies have 7,173,330 seeders and 2,851,119 leechers, while TV has 2,626,238 seeders and 1,230,625 leechers. The other video subcategories such as anime, adult and music videos are far behind.

Gaming platforms

PC games are shared the most on BitTorrent, with a total of 113,624 available torrent files. PSP games are in second place with 31,742 torrents, followed by Wii (25,770), Playstation (24,240), XBox (24,108), NDS (18,714), Mobile (2,495) and Mac games (1,936).


One of the categories that has been growing quickly in the last year is ‘books’. We currently count 399,267 available ebook torrents (including magazines), with 662,228 seeders and 172,811 leechers. Ebooks are followed by audio books, with 81,841 torrent files and comics with 15,774 available torrents.

It will be interesting to see how these trends develop over time. We will update this overview in a few months to see what trends are emerging and to find out more about what’s happening in other subcategories.


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