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Syfy’s ‘Z Nation’ Premiere Piracy Levels Skyrocket

A little-known new zombie series from cable network Syfy came out of nowhere Friday to emerge as a big global piracy draw over the weekend, according to new data from piracy tracking firm Excipio.

The premiere episode of “Z Nation” was devoured by approximately 300,000 unique IP addresses in the first 24 hours since its U.S. TV debut. While that may be far from record-holders like HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” which saw over 1 million individuals illegally downloading its season 4 premiere, it’s also well in excess of other well-known series like Netflix hits “Orange is the New Black” or “House of Cards,” which attracted sub-six-figure sums.

Another humbling comparison: When a copy of “The Expendables 3” leaked three weeks prior to its release, that attracted just 189,000–not even close to what “Z Nation” did. The torrent in question, marked ‘Z Nation S01E01 HDTV x264-KILLERS[ettv]’ was the most active among all torrents in the U.S. in the last 24 hours. The first of 13 installments, the episode is entitled “Puppies and Kittens.”

Just over 10% of the “Z Nation” piracy emanated from the U.S., with Australia, U.K. Canada and Brazil not far behind.

No word yet on whether high piracy levels will be a bellwether for good ratings for Syfy, or whether the series will see its TV audience cannibalized by copyright infringement.

Given there was built-in base because “Z Nation” wasn’t pre-existing intellectual property, its piracy performance is certainly usual. However, like AMC’s “Walking Dead,” another ensemble action drama enjoyed by pirates set against the backdrop of an apocalyptic landscape populated by bloodthirsty zombies, “Z Nation” has the kind of content that plays well to the peer-to-peer crowd.

“Z Nation” production company the Asylum knows a thing or two about Internet-friendly programming, with social-media-darling “Sharknado” franchise among its credits. Cast includes Harold Perrineau, Tom Everett Scott and DJ Qualls.

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