The Most Pirated Films & Shows Of 2012

TorrentFreak have released their annual lists of the most pirated movies and TV shows of 2012, and the winner of the film list is not one you’d expect.

“Project X,” the widely panned teen comedy about three nerds who throw a party that spirals out of control, took the top spot on the film list with 8.72 million illegal downloads in 2012.

It just edges out much higher profile action tentpoles like “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol” (8.5m), “The Dark Knight Rises” (8.23m), and “The Avengers” (8.11m).

Also making the list are “Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows” (7.85m), “21 Jump Street” (7.59m), David Fincher’s “The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo” (7.42m), “The Dictator” (7.33m), “Ice Age: Continental Drift” (6.96m), and “The Twilight Saga Breaking Dawn Part 1” (6.74m).

On the TV front, HBO’s big-budget fantasy series “Game of Thrones” easily dominated the small screen list with a single episode of this year’s second season receiving 4.28 million downloads. Showtime’s “Dexter” was the runner-up with 3.85 million.

Then came two sitcoms, “The Big Bang Theory” (3.2m) & “How I Met Your Mother” (2.96m), followed by acclaimed cable dramas “Breaking Bad” (2.58m), “The Walking Dead” (2.55m) and “Homeland” (2.40m).

Rounding out the Top 10 were “House” (2.34m), “Fringe” (2.28m), and “Revolution” (2.13m).

Unsurprisingly, more than 80% of TV show piracy happens outside the United States. Lack of availability, rather than price, is also the main reason people torrent.

The most interesting statistic is that Australia is the #1 illegal downloader of ‘Thrones’, accounting for approximately 10% of global total. The next nearest is the U.S. with 9.7%.

When you take population size into account though, that means approximately 1.95% of the entire Australian population illegally downloads an average episode of ‘Thrones’. In comparison, only 0.13% of the U.S. population does the same.

In fact, the results have been broken down by city with Sydney and London being the biggest downloaders. Taking population into account, approximately 2.77% of Sydney residents will download an episode of ‘Thrones’ through illicit means.

The main reason is delays. Cable service provider Foxtel would air new episodes of ‘Thrones’ one week after their U.S. broadcast. TorrentFreak’s study shows that 90% of all illegal downloads take place within the first week of an episode’s broadcast.