Netflix ‘Marvel’s Daredevil’ Plundered by Pirates

daredevil costume
Image courtesy of Marvel/Netflix

Street-hero series downloaded 2.1 million times since April 10 debut on streaming service

Netflix’s streaming-video service is available in more than 50 countries, for less than 10 bucks per month. Even so, hundreds of thousands of people have downloaded pirated copies of its “Marvel’s Daredevil” original series in the first week of its release.

Since Netflix premiered the street-hero series April 10, there have been 2.1 million individual users that have downloaded episodes of the show worldwide via torrent networks, according to data from piracy-tracking firm Excipio.

The only TV show that topped “Daredevil” in the April 10-16 time frame is HBO’s “Game of Thrones” — which remains the most-pirated TV show to date — with 6.5 million illegal torrents over the same period, the Excipio data shows. But that includes past seasons of “GoT,” not just the premiere episode of season 5 that leaked onto pirate sites a day prior to HBO’s TV airing. (Incidentally, that did not prevent “Game of Thrones” from registering its best-ever television viewership.)

Netflix is certainly aware of the piracy problem, even as it uses piracy data to inform the content lineup in any given territory.

“Piracy remains a considerable long-term threat, mostly outside the U.S.,” founder and CEO Reed Hasting and CFO David Wells wrote in their first quarter of 2015 note to shareholders. In the company’s Q4 2014 letter, Netflix included a link to this graph on Google Trends, showing a surge of searches for piracy app Popcorn Time in the Netherlands relative to Netflix and HBO starting last fall.

For “Daredevil,” Brazil led all territories on piracy, with 190,274 torrent downloaders from last Friday through Thursday, according to Excipio. (Note that Netflix has offered streaming service in Brazil since 2011.) The next biggest countries for piracy of the show were India (149,316), the U.S. (144,351), the U.K. (119,891), France (105,473) and Australia (101,025). Except for India, Netflix currently offers streaming service in each of those nations.

In any case, Netflix is coming off a huge quarter, having added 4.9 million streaming subscribers worldwide in Q1 — handily beating expectations — which has led to a spike in its stock price. In the U.S., Netflix ended the March quarter with 41.4 million streaming-video members, and 20.9 million overseas.

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  1. david forrester says:

    Proof that content will never be at a price that pirates will fore go free content. It’s disgusting.

    • patd0730 says:

      Seriously? You think pirating is “disgusting”? You clearly don’t understand what pirating is. I pay for Netflix and watched it on there. If i didn’t have Netflix i would have downloaded it for free from someone who shared their recording. If they gave me their disc to borrow that’s perfectly legal, but online that’s “disgusting”? Grow a brain and think for yourself.

  2. Serious says:

    It disgusts me how many people torrent (I hate using that term) movies and TV. What makes it way more embarrassing is that is how they just freely admit it. Some people who think that $8 for Netflix is too expensive should think about the advantages they do have (if any). There are many without luxury.

  3. BearUK says:

    I must admit I downloaded my favourite TV show, House MD, from thepiratebay, for the reason Pete gave; I could have waited a year for it to reach the UK or download it within hours of the US broadcast.

    There’s not much on TV I want to see these days, and I’m in the US; and savvy folk can use IP proxies and the like to watch shows on the network website wherever they are in the world.

  4. Ronnie Libra says:

    Ya! Such a problem when a company only makes like 5.5 Billion in one year. Those damn pirates are ruining everything!!

  5. Ashel Lehsa says:

    10 bucks is not a pittance for poor people. And not all people have access to internet.

    When I could afford to pay for streaming services and when these streaming services were made available to me, I pirated less.

    • david forrester says:

      Your a moron because netflix has a very low profit threshold. They may have revenue but most of it goes to securing the content the service has. Paying for 1 month of netflix isnt to much to ask for.

  6. Rex says:

    All things considered, including the populations of those countries and the percentage of those populations that surely own televisions and computers, these piracy numbers are quite low. I almost feel sorry for that puny portion of the global population that can’t afford to spend a few bucks a MONTH to access this stuff. Mind you, if the studios and their lawyers would stop trying to make work for their bloated selves by essentially REGION-CODING streaming content, perhaps these numbers would drop even further. Well, except in China, of course. Stealing’s a way of life there . . .

  7. Interestingly enough, someone who is pro-piracy, but does not engage in it, says that his opinion is that the entertainment industry has long been stealing money from customers–in particular the actors–and that’s part of the reason he wishes piracy were legal. He happens to be a Christian, and does not equate piracy with stealing.

  8. I think somewhere in the Bible it is written, though shall not steal……..

  9. Pete says:

    Want to know why there is so much piracy of American shows outside the US? Because people don’t want to wait until it eventually comes to their region, if at all. Many people have friends on social media who have watched and post spoilers. Get with it and have popular shows released internationally simultaneously. At least The Walking Dead got that right.

    • Joel says:

      Still doesn’t justify stealing (aka pirating). The problem is that many people have a false sense of entitlement – the idea that they “deserve” something just because someone else has it or has it first.

    • Naugers Noobslayer says:

      This is a moot point for any country with Netflix access. The entire first season of Daredevil was dumped onto Netflix worldwide at the same time (AFAIK).
      I think the only downside to Netflix in general in most cases is the above mentioned delay as well as the lack of HD streaming (definitely not an option for us Aussies).

  10. Abhishek says:

    No Netflix in India. If there’s demand for the show here and they still don’t intend to make it available here for everyone, then piracy on a large scale is bound to take place (Doesn’t take even a half-brainer to think about that). Even if they get it on Television here, it’s all censored, thanks to our moronic conservative society which can’t even take an A cup cleavage casually. A streaming service would do well here in India given its low costs and quality content. They’re the ones losing out by not bringing their services here; not us.. Torrent downloading is quite convenient for us.
    Also, the number of times it has been downloaded doesn’t quite estimate the number of people viewing the content. For instance, in our college, if any one person’s downloaded the file, he/she will upload that on the common college server and it’s right there for all of us whenever we want. (Here, one person’s download is spreading out to approximately 2500 people)
    No Netflix/Spotify/any other media service here = their loss. Not ours

  11. Michael says:

    I download torrents regularly. Because 99% of media is garbage! Other tangible products can be returned if they don’t work or are defective. Media cannot. I download it and if I like the product I buy it. All of you that keep paying $10 a month for a quality product makes sense because it delivers what you want. Other outlets that deliver garbage that isn’t worth buying, loaded with commercials are getting exactly what they deserve.

  12. Once Netflix was available in the Netherlands, i did not feel the need to download anything illegally,same with music/spotify. However i will use proxys to pretend i’m in the US cause the libraby in Europe still sucks compared to the US.

  13. Mark S says:

    However, none of these places can tell you how many of these people might be paying for Netflix, and *also* downloading it, so as to be able to watch it offline, etc. And before someone says “no one is doing that”, you’re wrong.

  14. Kate says:

    I pay £5.99 a month. That’s spare change!

  15. Lynda Day says:

    In some situations, I see why people pirate. I really do. In a situation like this, however, I just can’t see it. These people are scabs. When they can’t differentiate between an argument like “This isn’t available in my country” or “I would need to sign up to a 12 month cable deal to see one show” versus, “I can watch tons of stuff for less than 10 bucks a month on Netflix…” they have real issues.

  16. Mike says:

    I just don’t understand why people won’t pay a mere pittance (10.00) for a service like Netflix. Pirating is just as loathsome as shoplifting.

    • nerdrage says:

      I like to check out the pirate blog, torrentfreak. They often talk about how silly it is that anyone pays anything for Netflix, considering that Netflix provides nothing – original or licensed – that can’t be accessed for free. (Personally I’m happy to pay Netflix’s

      But I don’t see piracy as being a real threat to Netflix or HBO or the future transition of entertainment delivery to streaming. There will always be people who want something for nothing. But there are millions, perhaps BILLIONS who will pay for a convenient, totally risk-free service, as long as it’s so cheap it’s practically nothing. That gargantuan market will more than compensate for whatever small amount is lost through shoplifting, which is an excellent metaphor: shoplifting exists, but doesn’t mean there are no stores out there. There are millions of stores that exist and make money just fine.

      • cy12 (@cy12) says:

        You cant compare shoplifting to a movie. Shoplifting is not as easy as sitting at home and pressing a button. Also a physical product cannot be copied and shared infinately at zero reproduction cost, whereas a movie can: its enough for just one person to have a digital copy of something, for the whole world to have it. Its not the same with physical products.

      • Aron says:

        When I read the rationalizations of ‘pirates’ I want to smash things, but presuming if the number of them stay small I don’t suspect it has much of an impact. In order for these people to know what they want to even download, I suspect they are above-average interested in the content to start with which means they will probably talk to a lot of people about the program. So, word of mouth compensates quite a bit I think.

        Now where there is a major culture of piracy, I think real damage can be done.

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