October 2, 2014
The premiere of Fox’s “Gotham” was illegally downloaded 1.33 million times over the course of 13 days. That is more than five times the number of downloads of any other new TV series in the U.S. More than 177,000 of those downloads took place in the U.S., even though the show was available for free online streaming the next day. Viewers in Australia, the U.K., Brazil, and Canada also heavily pirated the show, indicating the Batman-based series has worldwide appeal.
“Gotham” did relatively well compared to longtime popular pirated content as well, according to Excipio’s data. Over the same 13-day period from September 17 to September 29, “Gotham” came in at number 4 overall, just behind “Sons of Anarchy,” “Under the Dome,” and “The Big Bang Theory.”
The superhero series beat pirated favorites like “Game of Thrones” and “Walking Dead,” which had 1.10 million downloads and 777,000 downloads, respectively.
The popularity of pirating “Gotham” may have an effect on Netflix’s deal to stream the show. Netflix scored the rights from Warner Bros. to stream “Gotham” worldwide after the first season concludes. Variety reports that Netflix uses piracy stats to determine the content it licenses.
Fox responded to the “Gotham” piracy data with the following statement: “This report underscores the need for effective intellectual property protections. Simply put, pirating TV shows threatens the rights of everyone within the creative community, puts real jobs at risk and endangers our ability to continue producing this quality content.”
Fortunately, the pilot did not leak until after it aired on TV.
Other fall premieres had relatively low pirating rates compared to “Gotham.” “How to Get Away with Murder” with 259,000 downloads and “Madam Secretary” with 195,000 downloads were the next closest fall series in the pirating data.