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.