Europe Gets Prison Break Fix via BitTorrent

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Last week the fourth season of Prison Break aired in the US with over 6 million viewers on TV. On BitTorrent the season premiere was downloaded more than 2 million times this week. The majority of the downloads go to Europe though. Poland alone is responsible for 12%, compared to only 4% US downloads.

prison break season 4Last week we reported that the season premiere of Fox’s Prison Break was downloaded more than a million times just a day after it was aired on TV. Fox, which offers a free and legit Prison Break stream on for US viewers, thinks that most downloads come from overseas, where the episodes haven’t aired yet, let alone that it can be streamed online.

It turns out that Fox’s assumption is right. We decided to look into the download locations of one of the most popular Prison Break torrents and found that, based on a sample of more than 250,000 downloads, most downloaders are located in Europe.

In our sample, which represents approximately 10% of the total downloads this week, the show was most downloaded in Poland (12%). UK and France were in second and third place respectively, followed by Canada and The Netherlands. The US was sixth in the list with only 4% of the total downloads, and Greece, Spain, Australia and Brazil complete the top 10.

As we have said before, availability seems to the key issue why people turn to BitTorrent. Non-US Prison Break fans sometimes have to wait for weeks or even months before the show airs on TV in their country, and many of them are not that patient, or willing to torture themselves. Until this problem is addressed, we’re not likely to see a decrease in TV-show downloads from BitTorrent.

The 4% US downloaders that preferred to get the show via BitTorrent instead of streaming it online probably did so because they wanted to watch it on their TV or get a higher quality copy – streaming isn’t all that. Both Fox and Hulu, the two sites that offer Prison Break streams have not published any numbers, so it’s hard to compare the number of US downloaders (~100.000) with the US streamers.

We do have a new TV-torrent download chart, with plenty of newcomers. So, let’s take a look at the 10 most downloaded shows this week. The data for the weekly download chart is collected by TorrentFreak from a representative sample of BitTorrent sites and is for informational and educational reference only.

Top Downloads August 31 – September 07

Ranking (last week) TV-show
1 (new) Prison Break
2 (new) Gossip Girl
3 (new) Dexter (pre-air)
4 (new) Stargate Atlantis
5 (new) 90210
6 (new) One Tree Hill
7 (new) Bones
8 (new) Samurai Girl
9 (new) The Shield
10 (4) Mythbusters


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