Half of all BitTorrent downloads are TV shows
What this means is that TV fans aren't just watching TV shows live or using DVRs and TiVos alone. They're just as apt to download a show to view on a laptop, desktop or iPod. According to the article, "over a billion TV shows are downloaded every year and this number continues to rise."
Some of the most popular TV downloads are water-cooler shows like Lost, Heroes and Desperate Housewives. An episode of Heroes, for example, was downloaded 2.5 million times on one site alone. And that was just one site! And how interesting is it that more than movies, music and other media, it's TV series that are being downloaded. Speaking of Heroes, Masi Oka, who plays Hiro, was in France to promote the show -- before it was shown there -- and learned that many fans had already watched episodes via illegal downloads. He hoped fans would still want to buy the DVD despite the "freebies" online.
While the recording business and film companies are freaking out about illegal downloading and how it's crushing their bottom lines, the TV industry seems to be trying to figure out how to make this technology work for them. Anne Sweeney, president of Disney-ABC TV, is sited as one executive whose eyes were opened to the efficacy of downloading as a convenience to consumers when she saw a pirate, pristine copy of her network's Desperate Housewives. It prompted her advocate the Disney/Itunes deal, with the hope that viewers will choose to pay a nominal fee for an episode rather than ripping it off via an illegal download.