‘The Walking Dead’ Feasted On by Internet Pirates

More than 500,000 Internet users worldwide access zombie thriller after it first showed up on illegal sites

Internet Piracy

The Walking Dead” season four premiere — after tearing into a huge TV audience Sunday — was downloaded illegally by more than 500,000 people around the world within 16 hours of the episode first showing up on illegal download sites, according to piracy website TorrentFreak.

That’s despite efforts by distributor Fox Intl. Channels to release the zombie thriller in some 125 countries less than 24 hours after debuting in the States on cabler AMC, in an effort to curb piracy.

Even though AMC is making the ep available to stream for free for the next 27 days on its website, the U.S. had the highest percentage of illegal downloaders for the “Walking Dead” episode of any country, with 15.5%, according to TorrentFreak.

On U.S. television, “The Walking scored record ratings for AMC. Sunday’s premiere of season four show delivered an average audience of 16.1 million viewers. That was more than 5 million viewers better than last year’s 10.87 million.

Another high-profile AMC series, “Breaking Bad,” last month saw the series finale of the show downloaded more than 500,000 times within 12 hours after it became available on torrent sites.