The final episode of Breaking Bad, the five year old TV series about an under-achieving high school chemistry teacher who becomes a methamphetamine cook, has clocked over 500,000 pirated downloads, according to TorrentFreak.
What’s rather surprising is that India saw the fifth highest downloads in the world, accounting for 5.1% of the total (which would be an estimate of more than 25,500 downloads).
Or maybe we shouldn’t be surprised: The show isn’t up-t0-date on TV (it’s being shown on STAR World), and this essentially emphasises the problem that TV faces, when shows aren’t telecast at the same time across the world. TV channels really need to be up to date with shows, or lose potential viewers to piracy.
Apart from this, with many shows in India, there is an issue of censorship – with words and scenes being censored (as an aside, this list from Buzzfeed on the censorship of subtitles is hilarious). Many shows, such as the Game of Thrones, lose essentially plot elements because parts of the show are censored due to nudity. Apart from this, there is of course the issue of time shifting, wherein users might want to watch show at a time of their choosing, as opposed to appointment based viewing.
As users discover the options (and the freedom) provided to them by broadband and piracy, mediums such as TV need to embrace digital and broadband, and provide live shows and time-shifting. Online channels such as YouTube, Dailymotion, BoxTV, Spuul will eventually emerge as potential destinations for legit content online. Maybe even Netflix, which uses data from piracy sites to determine which shows to buy, will launch in India.