The return of hit former Fox sitcom Arrested Development is a current topic of discussion amongst critics for its quality, but there is no denying the draw that it brings to subscription streaming provider Netflix for the exclusive revival, as even those without subscriptions to the platform are left desperate to get their hands (or rather, eyes) on the content.
It was recently revealed by a number of BitTorrent trackers that in the first 24 hours since the entire fourth season of Arrested Development was uploaded to Netflix on Sunday (26 May), the show was illegally downloaded 100,000 times.
While representing a high level of interest in the sitcom (which now has over 175,000 illegal downloads to its name since the weekend), the statistics are believed to be one which disproves the theory that lack of accessibility means an increase of piracy, as of the top 5 countries responsible for the dubious viewing methods, only Australia (in 2nd place with 15%) were a market not covered by Netflix, ahead of Canada (11.8%), the UK (5.9%), and Sweden (2%).
The USA, home country of Netflix and Arrested Development (which after its launch has been strongly hinted to have another new season planned, should the cast commit to it), is also the home to the most pirates of the show, though based on proportion of viewers to population Australia would be the most prolific of the five.
The numbers have lead to increased campaigning from Australian consumer organisations to see Netflix expand to the national market, in order to provide a legal means of viewing their content, although the company have so far only announced plans to enter ‘an additional European market’ in the second half of this year.
A Torrent Freak article on the matter noted: “During the first two days, episode one of Arrested Development topped 175,000 downloads on public BitTorrent trackers. A decent number, but one that pales in comparison to records set by Game of Thrones and other hit series. Unfortunately the download figures by themselves are meaningless without context, so it’s hard to draw conclusions on how the Netflix release affected them. From past experience, however, it is safe to say that the numbers would be significantly higher if a show had been released on a premium cable network. After all, in countries where Netflix is available people have little reason to pirate the show. Or do they?”