Even in a world of ubiquitous and relatively inexpensive streaming services, there’s a cluster of freeloaders out there who want to get something for nothing.
“WandaVision,” Marvel’s first TV series for Disney Plus starring Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda Maximoff and Paul Bettany as Vision, was the No. 1 most pirated show of the year on torrent download networks, according to piracy news site TorrentFreak.
Four other Marvel shows were also in the top 10 — “Loki” (No. 2), “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” (No. 4), “Hawkeye” (No. 5) and “What If…? (No. 6) — on the piracy ranking. Netflix’s “The Witcher” took the No. 3 spot, coming as Season 2 of the popular fantasy series debuted on Dec. 17.
But there’s a major caveat with the TorrentFreak report: Streaming sites, not torrent downloads, represent “the overwhelming majority” of internet piracy, according to Muso, a U.K.-based piracy-monitoring firm. During the first half of 2021, 94% of piracy activity was on streaming sites, “which indicates the decline of torrent sites as an avenue to consume stolen content,” according to a Muso report. In its report, TorrentFreak acknowledged, “It’s worth noting that BitTorrent traffic only makes up a small portion of the piracy landscape.”
Another issue is that TorrentFreak’s ranking is based on individual episodes; that means that entire seasons that are zipped into one file are underrepresented on the list. The news site said that based on “rough calculations,” Netflix’s “Casa de Papel” (“Money Heist”) could have hit No. 5 on the list under a more accurate methodology, while “Squid Game” — the streamer’s surprise global hit of the year — also would have made it into the top 10.
So for what it’s worth, here’s the top 10 list of most pirated TV shows as measured by TorrentFreak:
Most Downloaded TV Shows via Torrent Piracy Networks, 2021
- “WandaVision” (Disney Plus)
- “Loki” (Disney Plus)
- “The Witcher” (Netflix)
- “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” (Disney Plus)
- “Hawkeye” (Disney Plus)
- “What If…?” (Disney Plus)
- “Foundation” (Apple TV Plus)
- “Rick and Morty” (Adult Swim/Hulu/HBO Max)
- “Arcane” (Netflix)
- “Wheel of Time” (Amazon’s Prime Video)