Breaking Bad Finale Sees Australians Beat The World At Piracy... Again

I'm now running out of creative new ways to re-write this headline because of how much Australia downloads content. That's right, folks: the final episode of Breaking Bad set new piracy records, with Australia sitting at the top of the tree once again for most prolific pirates.

Aussies made up just under 20 per cent of those downloading the season final of Breaking Bad last night, meaning that more of us would rather watch the show illegally than screen it on Foxtel.

These numbers mean that more Australians downloaded Breaking Bad than those in the US, UK, Canada or India, despite our paltry population figures.

And where is the city from which the most pirates hail from? That would be Melbourne this time around. Melbourne alone represented 5.4 per cent of the people downloading the finale, followed by London at 3.3 per cent and Sydney at 3 per cent. Brisbane, Perth and Adelaide were all scattered throughout the top ten, too.

Did you download Breaking Bad? No spoilers!


Image: AMC

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    Yeah I download it. I already paid for it on, but their service is sooooo crappy I have to download it from elsewhere to actually watch it. Not really much else I can do. *shrug*

      Yeah I downloaded it as well but had already paid for it on season pass from iTunes. Why I downloaded it is that I normally have to wait until 1am until it becomes available on iTunes due to them having to wait before putting it online due to the screening agreement on Foxtel.
      So yep...I paid for it legit...and downloaded it.....less legit.

    Imagine how hard we could smash that record with NBN.

    Yes i downloaded it.
    Why? Cause i needed to watch it at 5pm as it was the only free time i had last night & it was hard enough making it through the afternoon without spoilers.

    That said i have the massive blu ray collectors edition on pre order :)

    Meh, even if it's "fast tracked" via foxtel, as if I'm going to pay $100 a month for one bloody good show a week. Foxtel was an awful shitheap when I had it, worse than FTA except for one or two good shows a week. I could go to the cinema twice a week to watch new release movies for the price of foxtel + showtime.

      Pretty much

      Pretty much this.
      To get BB in Foxtel you need to fork out $72 for the package with Showtime.

        Or $47, given you can get free movie channel package for 6 months ;)

        And given that Breaking Bad went for over 10 months. You're looking at $1000+ just for the wonderful experience of watching tonnes of commercials and trash while waiting for Breaking Bad to come on.

        I'm going to buy the box set, hell - If I had a direct source of payment that I knew would go DIRECTLY to those that deserved it. I'd put 100 bucks in it right now.

          I wish there were TV show humble bundles and good music humble bundles. Also movies to a certain extent. Perhaps Steam will open up a channel for something like this. There are a few movies there ...

      Yeah absolutely, unless you're a sports fan (which I'm not) I see no reason to ever get Foxtel.

    I made the mistake of watching Blacklist on FTA last night.
    I tried to do the right thing and felt like I was being played for a fool by a television station that doesn't really care about it's viewers.
    Aired 20mins late, thanks to the crap X-Factor (way to try and boost X-Factor viewer numbers BTW 7!), constant adds throughout breaking the immersion, add breaks that seemed to last forever, and no attempt to shorten add breaks because of the overrun from X-Faxctor.
    No thanks 7. Learnt my lesson.
    Downloading from now on.

      For the record, last night's episode of Blacklist didn't start 20 mins late. It was scheduled to start at 8:43 pm and started just after 8:45 pm. Don't blame channel 7 for rounding errors in TV guides. As for the ads, meh who cares. It didn't cost me anything (Foxtel) and I didn't have to wait for it to download on my crappy ADSL1 connection.

        Ugh, it's later than aired in the US. You're waiting.

          I get that we now live in a world of instant gratification and everyone has to have everything the moment it becomes available, but I just don't subscribe to that theory. In fact, I really don't understand people's obsession with it. I can only assume that far too many people these days are so insecure, that they can't handle being out of the loop.

          It's just a TV show. Be it the Blacklist, Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones or whatever. None of these alter your life in any real way except that not being up to date could potentially lead to ridicule from your peers.

            Totally agree - are these the same people who, by some miracle, are able to avoid the ending of blockbuster movies that get released in aus weeks later? Or do they pirate those too?
            They must be such unhappy people, always measuring their needs by what others have.

              You guys actually think people pirate shows because they're unhappy, are worried about ridicule from their peers?... Balderdash!

              People pirate because they have consumer demand, and torrents (et al) is the most efficient method of supply. Read the comments above you and you will see that many people who are downloading these shows are the very same who want to pay for it *or have already paid for it*.

              Personally, I wait for a week for an episode of a show I enjoy to become available and will give my business to whatever supplier can give it to me the fastest. Whether that 'business' is worth $2.99 to iTunes, or 0.005c for the ad exposure I get on the pirate bay... it makes no difference to me.

                Thanks for the downvote - but I think your post displays the underlying issue.
                1. "People pirate because the have consumer demand?" - What does that even mean? Your want of an item equates to the necessity of provision - during your specified timeframe? If you can actually argue this case successfully, many 7yr old kids want to know - there are Pokemon to be had!
                2. It makes no difference to YOU if you pay a legit distributor or pirates (via ads). This is an indictment on the mis-informed. Because of 1 above, 2 seems to follow as the perceived infringement is non-existent. "The issue is THEM", whoever them seems to be at the time, is a classic way of disassociating oneself from your own actions.
                3. Everyone else is doing it - the old sheep mentality. If it is done by people that have my same wants, then it's ok if I do.
                Don't get me wrong - I do understand the desire to access something you love. And the enticement of free is strong. As transientmind states below - "Keeping Up With the Joneses is not a new phenomenon". But what IS changing in our society, is that the Joneses are no longer a desireable target, but a perceived NEED.

                  @crowknee / @marcd

                  Debating the principles of piracy is ultimately meaningless as it's not as if arguments of right and wrong are of much use, so let me say this.

                  It's undeniable that at a certain level of authority across the content owners and the local distributors (such as Foxtel), there is the capacity to avoid issues like the delay in air between the US and countries like Australia.

                  The technology to put up TV shows for live streaming (with ads) and provide people the ability to watch when they want has existed for over a decade. Australia has had affordable enough broadband access to watch shows like this for at least half a decade. The fact that these static and intransigent corporations have forced everyone to put up with watching TV at set times is a result of their unwillingness to take investment risks, and risk upsetting the profitable status quo that they enjoy.

                  The reason Foxtel is able to bundle shows like Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones into their most expensive package requiring consumers to shell out for boatloads of content they may not want is a similarly a privilege of their almost monopolistic power in Australia.

                  Maybe the current model is unsustainable and needs to change. Maybe that will ultimately affect the budgets of these shows. But the fact is we all know it's only inevitable that pirating content, partly as a result of these failures will become more prevalent as the population ages. And something needs to change.

                  What I can certainly say won't help is expressing outrage at the gall of people acting in their own interests.

                  I totally agree with your point about sustainability of current practices. Affordability and access to broadband to sustain mainstream streaming... I think you stretch there.
                  Removing the key factor of "people acting in their own interest" is just a cop-out. Plain and simple. To facilitate the level of change you are talking about would constitute a holistic shift in not only the availability of content, but advertising and, most importantly, infrastructure. Many millions of dollars have been invested in digital tv towers, etc, and any transition in model would append many millions more in streaming. Who pays? Upfront investment in the technology is a huge hurdle - one which is so often overlooked by the computer generation, since it's always been there. Do a quick Google search on how much places like youtube spend on facilities and bandwidth - in 2009 it was about 2mill a day. No small change. Even if you half the cost based on reduced personel costs without moderators, it's still sits on about 360mil/yr. Is the onus really on distributors to outlay this money to try to stop people from circumventing already well-understood cost-redemption mechanisms (ads)?
                  Also - some delay in air-time between aus and us is inevitable. Why would US content creators make available their shows to either a sleeping populace, or another region ahead of their primary US target?
                  It's all well and good to say "They could do this" and "should do that", but when the underlying reason for provisioning content is money - why WOULD they? When a couple of hours proves too much for people they just HAVE to pirate, what system would satiate them?

                  There have easily been a handful of providers offering at least 100GB for sub ~$60ish prices for the last 5 years. I'd say that's more than sufficient for each user to watch a handful of the roughly two dozen TV shows which make up the majority of the pirated volume. I'm not talking about streaming all TV via the internet, that's clearly a while off in terms of infrastructure but for the key shows that are actually torrented, the capacity is definitely there.

                  I agree, it would be a holistic shift, but piracy isn't a new issue. The industrial complex of content producers, advertisers and distributors have had plenty of time to hash out a business strategy. Had online distribution been pushed early, perhaps at least capital cities in Australia and other countries would already have the teleco infrastructure and pricing in place to support the capacity. If we're talking about technology investment, how about first looking at the maintenance costs and redundancy of pay TV cable lines alongside also having DSL/phone.

                  As far as minimizing that investment cost, the solution is staring them in the face. The same type of P2P bandwidth that now supports sharing illegally sourced content can be used to support legal distribution. If private torrent sites have been able to restrict access to members only via a login/IP check then content providers can do the same thing and only pay for the interface.

                  It's not like it hasn't been done either. Look at what Crunchroll has done for anime, in terms of not only offering ad supported streaming quickly after initial air, but also providing translation subbing. If they can pull off that, then surely the mammoth US content providers can simply create a platform for placing their shows on the web. You ask what is the logic of putting up content when it airs overseas in the middle of night local time. Why not? We live in the 21st century, we don't wait for newspapers to release news of what happened overnight in the morning. Instead, we log on to local sites and see news as it happens, regardless of the time.

                  The reason I stress that they can do this is because honestly, I am sure that at some level, ideas like this have been proposed. We're talking about multinational corporations and business models that already exist, it is inconceivable that they haven't been proposed. But ultimately the senior (likely >40/50 year old) execs who act as decision makers have decided that the convenience that comes with this model and the new customer base it opens up for them (that is currently pirating) is not worth the risk of introducing older generations used to traditional TV to online content, and risking losing them to piracy. Because cynical decisions like this have been that compromise customer convenience, I really have very little sympathy for their plight.

                  I think you hit the nail on the head there - neither side actually understands the positions of the other. I can tell you from experience that knowing a business model and implementing one are two vastly different things. Sure, there are those that are doing what would ultimately stop you from pirating - but these companies do not have the legacy that the current content providers do. Legacy is a powerful force - never underestimate it. It's comfortable, it's known and very costly to change. Even bolting on services to the side of an existing business model is fraught with issues as the service provision is only part of it. Advertisers need to feel they are given fair exposure for money. Investors need ROI - and in the current model, they get that almost immediately. But add upfront overheads, and investment starts to dry up.
                  And then there is the need to educate. Adding streaming to any household puts an on-going cost to the budget - one that didn't exist before. I know you say that the provision isn't for everyone, but in order for the model to work, the tech needs to appeal mainstream - otherwise what's the financial point? Though piracy is a big problem, they are still a tiny sector of the population. And what kind of investor would jump at the chance to back a multi-million dollar investment to try and garner dollars from a group who :
                  1. Already have proven than they will take what they want without paying (for whatever reason)
                  2. Already have comfortable tools and sites from which they get there content
                  I'll give you a hint - none. That's why you aren't seeing it now.
                  It will - but at the provisioning speed of the mainstream. Most people can wait a day to watch a programme. Most people use the station's current offerings. Most people are partaking in the evolving business models of the current "industrial complex". Pirates see themselves as different. Special. Their needs must be met. Though for all the touting of "they should", not one of them has done the leg-work to provide the systems they pine for. Why? Because it's hard. You have contracts to manage, advertisers to attract, investors to find and placate - and most of all, you need the money to acquire the rights of distribution.
                  I am quite aware the tech exists. And as you point out, so are the content providers. But in order for it to happen, business needs to move. Big business with Big money.

              It is not really easy to avoid all the spoilers from movies, when you have friends overseas who are talking about the latest blockbuster movie, but you won't be able to watch it for the next 3 months.
              In 3 months time, you will be watching it at home - as a DVD rip.

              Well... welcome to pretty much the human condition since the dawn of time (and shinies).
              Keeping Up With the Joneses is not a new phenomenon.

    Damn straight i watched it last night.
    Its a good thing too because just bumming around the net will give it away.
    If you haven't seen it yet, avoid the internet until you have.

    My wife is still half a season behind, and i'm sure she will hear all about the ending before she has a chance to see it.

    Surely there's someone, somewhere who realizes that there's a almost a licence to print money in those statistics?

    Or alternatively, there honestly isn't any money to be made in Australia, and so have concluded that "downloaded episode" ≠ "lost sale"

    Last edited 01/10/13 8:41 am

    Since I got Hulu Plus and Netflix I have stopped pirating. Not everything is shown on those services, but it's better than what we put up with on are crappy TV networks and pay TV options.

      Now that Hulu has BBC Worldwide, all it needs is HBO and I don't think I'd ever pirate again. Wont happen though as HBO have their own service, HBO GO.

        And if they made HBO Go a Netflix style services, with out the need of having to have an existing cable subscription, I would gladly pay them a ton of money every year to watch their shows.

          I'd definitely pay for HBO.

            HBO alone have more talent on air than the entirity of Australias FTA network.

            Agreeing with others, HBO with Netflix/Hulu and I'm there. Granted without the NBN rollout I was expecting at the end of the year I'll be streaming it at 240p


      If the Breaking Bad finale hadn't been available on Netflix last night, we would have been one of those download statistics.

    You have to wonder how long it will take the major studios to realise just how lucrative the Aus market is for good on demand content at Netflix prices (or slightly higher due to our population). I have Foxtel but only to watch the NRL, they do get some great stuff on Showcase but it's over $100 per month, most people can not afford that, it's absolutely ridicules.

      I totally agree. I think the numbers and comments here show there is a real untapped market for broadcasting good quality, popular content at a reasonable price. I've never had a paid TV prescription service but it seems like Foxtel aren't quite hitting the mark.

      Anyone out there with a big enough wallet to set this up listening?

        I used the old Foxtel on XBox service which was decent and a low enough price (getting SF, Comedy etc for less than $30 a month), which was great as I had the net connection to support it. However once Foxtel Go came on and I found that the channels that I wanted was going to cost me $45+ plus a whole lot of stuff I didn't care about, I cancelled my subscription.

        However, since then I got a VPN and a Netflix subscription via an old android tablet connected to my TV so I am happy with content now.

        Its not much of a hard choice:

        Foxtel Go - $45+ - Watch what is scheduled with ads etc
        Netflix - $10 (including VPN subscription) - Everything on demand. 'All you can consume'

        Content providers really need to re-think their strategies. Sure Foxtel Go is a cheaper option for those who think regular cable Foxtel is a bit too pricey, however their prices still aren't attractive enough I would think for quite a large segment of the market.

      Most Australians can easily afford $100/month ($1200/year) based on their income. They choose to take huge mortgages, buy plasma TVs, upgrade their car, fly overseas, and drink beer instead.

    i don't use torrents, i use things like uploaded, i wonder if they measure that as well? that's how i download my tv shows, Including Breaking Bad, very good finale

      Under the umbrella definition of "torrenting", a lot of things count. I don't think they're counting people who use specialised services, though - so no, you're probably not part of the 20%.
      A simultaneous heaping of pride and shame on you, sir.

    The episode came up straight away for uploaded and others like it and I still wasn't even quick enough to get it ruined by some asshat on the internets.

    Foxtel is a joke. That is clear. I have also wondered why their isnt a similar service to netflix here in oz and the only conclusion I can find is that international licensing agreements are to blame. It would be hard to land those types of deals when they delay their content and give exclusivity to big players like foxtel.

    Btw I downloaded It but I think I more then made up for it when I purchased every season on blu ray for $40 +.

      Closest thing we have is Quickflix, which would be great if they actually had the content they promised! I signed up for a few months, specifically to gain access to GoT. The show did not appear on their in-app catalogue, and half the shows that were displayed showed a "content not available" message. Rubbish service.

      I'd happily keep paying $15/month for a Netflix-like service, and my piracy would drop to near-zilch. Happily.

      Dear Content Producers,

      When it's a choice between "make no money" and "make some money", why would you go with the former? I want to pay you for the content that I want, and you already have a distribution model in operation that accounts for some ridiculous proportion of all the internet traffic in the USA. Set it up here, and I'll be first in line!



        The worst part is that it would be so easy to bring Netflix to Australia! Now that Amazon has brought over EC2 servers to Australia it means for Netflix they really just have to mirror the content (which Amazon does) and remove the geoblock!

    Snape kills Walter White.

      And then they wake up and it was all a dream....and they were on a spaceship travelling to Mars.

      We find out Jesse's father is Darth Vader ... nooooooooooo!

    Maybe Australia pirates because Foxtel is a damn rip off.....

    I think a good value web streaming service in Australia would clean up!

      To be honest, I'd possibly pay for Foxtel if it wasn't such a shit service overall. If I wanted to watch non stop re-runs I'd watch Ch11, Mate and Go.

        Exactly - Maybe I was enlightened from an early age, but all I ever saw from Pay TV when I was younger was painful waiting and terrible commercials with a lot of terrible content. Naturally there was a gem thrown in every now and then, but in general. No.

        FTA in Australia is nasty, I have no idea how they can't provide quality tv content. Anything fasttracked from the US is generally pure rubbish chosen by the managers cousins 7 year old child. And on top of that, despite having 2 or 3 channels each they're still managing to repeat episodes and movies within a week or two of each other.


        It's funny because those are the only 3 channels on free to air commercial TV I can watch

        Last edited 01/10/13 11:49 am

      Even just for sport, man....

      Remember when the AFL used to be broadcast Free-To-Air, before Foxtel came through and took a crap on everything? Can't even see the Weagles games anymore...

    No I have not downloaded it, but give us a reliable paid streaming service like Hulu or better! Provide Australian's a way to legally get the content we want, when we want it. It's not that we are unwilling to pay for the content, we are unwilling to pay ridiculous foxtel prices and don't want to wait. If the broadcasting industry provided us an inexpensive, quick, easy HD service for us to stream the content, and release it when it is released in the USA I believe these numbers would drop dramatically. Come on, this is not rocket science.

      I hope this never, ever, ever, EVER, EVER happens, but:

      If TV companies put a paid subscription service on Torrents alone that would download content at an alarmingly fast rate, they'd make this money back pretty easily. But no, all that "Piracy hurts the industry" bullshit that the execs keep parroting means they're blind to new ideas.

      And yes - I KNOW this theory is broken to all hell, but it beats their current strategy of "air it in the US, pirate it in AU for free, complain".

    I was part of the 5% in melbourne due to not having showtime on fox. I would like the option to send some money to an "honesty box". I would send USD$10 to AMC if i had the chance.

    Yeah downloaded it. Waiting even an entire day to watch a gem like this is sacrilege, besides the web is full of trolls waiting to spoil everybody's day by going on a spoil-spree. Quite proud that Australia's at the top of the piracy tree.

    No, but I hate that "Express from the US" shit that makes you feel like America's bitch.

      Like it or not, in terms of content creation, we are!
      I wonder if they get Neighbours "Express from Aus"??

        It's probably on one of their "Pay-Per-View" content channels. You know - because we get it for free, they see the need to monetize everything.

    1. Create a world demand for something 2. Inform the USA they will get it 1 day after everyone else in the world gets it 3. Sit back and watch the Internet explode

    I downloaded. Because TV should be free. End of story.

      Yep all writers and actors should be forced to perform for my enjoyment

    If I had the cash.. I would be setting something up.. I'd be fighting for the rights to show the good shows here in Australia and stream good content ON DEMAND myself.. I'd hunt for a good team of people, programmers and developers, lawyers and such to get it right and provide Aust with an amazing service (yeah go the hard work).. Think of the cash cow it would be!! I would seriously do it!.. However..I can't even afford the ludicrous money Foxtel want for a dogged up service.... so for me its just a pipe dream.. lol...

    I'm actually an American who has moved to Melbourne recently, and I know what you're talking about... Truth is, the majority of Americans are very friendly and don't look down on anyone, but then there's the others, which are rednecks, racists, government officials etc that definitely look at the rest of the world as their bitch, even Europe... Because they know, that sure you could challenge us even though were allies, but do you really want to start World War III and nuke the planet? So basically other countries have to do shit they don't want to and be Americas bitch, in order for everyone to stay alive... Kind of shitty, but that's just how it is...

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