As the entertainment world starts gearing up for the Golden Globes, Oscars and other awards shows, Showtime’s Dexter can claim a more dubious honor: the charming serial killer’s adventures were pirated more often than any other television program during 2011.

TorrentFreak’s annual analysis of television shows determined that Dexter and HBO’s freshman series Game of Thrones had more downloads than viewers on their respective pay TV broadcast.

Even so, the overall number of TV show downloads is leveling off, and in the U.S. continues the steady decline it began a few years ago. However in other territories, like Australia and Europe, the demand for U.S. television shows remains relatively unchanged.

TorrentFreak ascribes the downward piracy trend to Hulu Plus, Netflix and other services that give viewers control over when they want to watch any particular show. “When Fox decided to delay the airing of new episodes on Hulu in August, many former Hulu users turned to BitTorrent where the number of U.S. downloads more than doubled,” TorrentFreak’s founder Ernesto cited in evidence.

It’s clear that something besides cost is motivating this activity, since four of the downloaded top ten are on regular network television (see chart, below). TorrentFreak’s data suggests that this is because international fans aren’t willing to wait until the current episodes are made available through legitimate services, another example of consumers desiring more control.

The data for TorrentFreak’s 2011 top 10 is collected from several sources, including reports from all public BitTorrent trackers.

Related links:

TorrentFreak – Top 10 Most Pirated TV Shows of 2011


  1. Well, I’m fan of Dexter and I happen to live in Europe, as much as I love Michael C Hall to be rich (I really do) I can not wait FOR AGES for the episodes to come here. Therefore I am one of the pirates…

  2. I download the episodes because I don’t have cable tv in any format. I don’t feel guilty in the slightest because I buy the dvds when they come out. I merely am cutting out the wait. I’ll buy this season as well, and rewatch it just before season 7.