New Research Reveals Pirates’ TV Show Preferences

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What if we told you that the most popular TV shows may not be the ones you think they are – at least on some corners of the internet?

While most of us are tracking the latest episodes on our favourite streaming platforms, a completely different leaderboard is emerging in the world of online piracy.

And this ‘hidden’ list of TV favourites offers some surprising insights into what viewers in the UK and around the world really want to watch – and what may succeed in the future.

Data analytics company MUSO has been keeping tabs on global piracy and unlicensed media consumption, and their findings reveal an unexpected side of TV show popularity.

Man pirating download computer

But there’s more to these findings than just an alternative top 10 list. This data, as unusual as the source might be, offers a compelling prediction of the potential performance of upcoming TV seasons.

From the most pirated shows in the UK and the US to global trends, this data brings to light the significant influence of genres like Japanese Manga and South Korean drama.

Join us as we dive into this surprising world of TV show popularity, as seen through the lens of piracy research.

Piracy Popularity Contest: UK, US, and the World

MUSO’s latest data for May-July 2023 gives us a surprising glimpse into the ‘alternative’ popularity contest: the most pirated TV shows in the UK, the US, and globally.

What’s interesting is that this contest doesn’t quite match the usual TV ratings.

In the UK, it’s not the Hollywood blockbusters that take the top spot. Instead, Japanese Manga and South Korean dramas are the stars of the piracy world.

Mashle Magic and Muscles tv show
Mashle: Magic and Muscles

Titles like Mashle: Magic and Muscles and Vinland Saga have been taking the lead in the past 60 days (May-July), with Apple TV’s sci-fi hit, Silo, coming in fourth.

Across the pond in the US, the story is somewhat similar. Silo makes it to the top of the list, but the rest of the top 10 spots are once again filled with Japanese Manga and South Korean dramas.

Globally, the piracy scene also echoes this trend. Apart from Silo being the most pirated, the global top 10 list is filled with Japanese Manga and South Korean drama titles:

United Kingdom Piracy Trends

In the UK, the top spots are dominated by shows from Japan and South Korea. Here are the top 5 most pirated shows in the last 60 days:

  1. ‘Mashle: Magic and Muscles’
  2. ‘Vinland Saga’
  3. ‘Hell’s Paradise’
  4. ‘Silo’
  5. ‘Tengoku Daimakyo’

United States Piracy Trends

Over in the US, the story is a bit different, but with a similar theme.

Silo Apple TV show

Here are the top 5 most pirated shows in the last 60 days:

  1. ‘Silo’
  2. ‘Mashle: Magic and Muscles’
  3. ‘Vinland Saga Season 2’
  4. ‘Tengoku Daimakyo’
  5. ‘Hell’s Paradise Season 1’

Global Scene Piracy Trends

Looking at the big picture, the global piracy scene echoes these trends. Here are the top 5 most pirated shows in the last 60 days:

  1. ‘Silo’
  2. ‘Mashle: Magic and Muscles’
  3. ‘Vinland Saga Season 2’
  4. ‘Hell’s Paradise’
  5. ‘Dr. Romantic Season 3’

While Silo claims the top spot, the global list is still dominated by Japanese Manga and South Korean drama titles.

These trends highlight the significant demand for these genres in the piracy world, suggesting that their appeal transcends regional boundaries and resonates with audiences worldwide.

Pirates Predicting TV Success?

One of the fascinating aspects of piracy data is its potential predictive power. By analysing the demand for pirated versions of previous seasons, MUSO can predict the popularity of upcoming seasons.

As MUSO’s data reveals, the release of new series often leads to a spike in unlicensed demand for the new season, with a small increase in demand for the previous season.

For instance, Black Mirror saw very little additional demand for previous seasons upon the release of the new Season 6.

However, the release of a new season of shows like Star Trek: Strange New Worlds and Warrior saw large weekly spikes in unlicensed demand for the new seasons and a slight increase in demand for previous seasons.

Strange New Worlds Season 2
Star Trek: Strange New World (Photo: Paramount)

This trend suggests that as new TV seasons start, most demand for previous seasons occurs once the new season is underway, with people looking to catch up or refresh their memories of previous events.

As a result, the popularity of the 2023 seasons of shows like Star Trek: Strange New Worlds, And Just Like That…, and Warrior can be predicted based on their previous seasons’ piracy demand.

The Silver Lining of Piracy Data?

While piracy is a challenge that the industry continues to grapple with, research companies are turning the tables, using piracy data to provide valuable insights into audience behaviour and predict trends.

As we welcome the fresh instalments of cherished franchises, it’s clear that the analysis of piracy data will play a critical role in understanding viewership dynamics and predicting the potential performance of upcoming releases.

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