Breaking Bad series finale breaks piracy records

Breaking Bad’s series finale just broke a dubious record: The last episode of the critically acclaimed show has been pirated more than 500,000 times within the first 12 hours after it first appeared online, according to Torrentfreak. That makes it the most popular Breaking Bad episode on file sharing networks ever. Judging from the data, availability was one of the factors behind the piracy surge, but for some, it may just be a hard-to-kick habit.

Torrentfreak took a closer look at the geographic distribution of downloaders, noting that Australians are at the top of the list. In Australia, Breaking Bad is available through the pay TV network Foxtel, which aired the final episodes of the show just five hours after they went on the air in the U.S. However, not everyone has access to Foxtel; the provider reaches only about 2.2 million households. Others apparently decided to take matters into their own hands.

Data courtesy of

Data courtesy of

Second on the list is the U.S, where Breaking Bad not only aired on AMC, but also is available on a variety of VOD platforms, including iTunes (S AAPL) and Amazon. (S AMZN) Plenty of people nonetheless elected to pirate the show, and the modest price tag for a VOD episode may not be the only reason for this choice. Here’s how Torrentfreak’s Ernesto put it:

“One of the explanations for this defiant behavior is that these downloaders simply prefer to torrent the show out of habit. As reported earlier, even among those who have a Netflix subscription, many prefer to grab a copy via torrent sites as they find it more convenient.”

And if you ever wondered why Walt’s meth is blue, check out our story: Breaking Bad’s science advisor fact checks some of the show’s greatest chemistry moments.