The new season of “Arrested Development” released on Netflix on May 26, 2013 has proven to be very popular with viewers and pirates. Within 24 hours of the show being released it had been downloaded over 100,000 times and is still trending as popular. While these numbers seem huge, they fall far short of the nearly 1 million illegal downloads the recent season premiere of “Game of Thrones” saw.
These numbers come directly from Torrentfreak, a website that monitors torrent traffic and trends. While the number of downloads may be smaller than “Game of Thrones,” “Arrested Development” made the entire season of 15 episodes available on the day it released the show which means those who did download it got the entire season at once which could diminish the chances that they may join Netflix to watch future episodes.
Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarados doesn’t seem too concerned by the numbers. He even went as far as to say that bit torrent traffic and illegal downloads shrink as Netflix continues to expand its market and availability in different areas. Their basic idea is that today’s downloader is tomorrow’s paying customer.
“Arrested Development” has always been a highly pirated show and the producers even give a nod towards pirating in this season. Throughout the episodes there are flashbacks to previous seasons. In those flashbacks a watermark appears on the screen that reads “Showstealer Pro Trial Version.” It is a two pronged joke with one being that the producers can’t afford the licensing costs for past clips and the other being that they know it was pirated in the past and will be again in the future.
“Arrested Development” has been a hit for Netflix. The company doesn’t release viewing numbers, but one DSL internet provider reported that 36% of all their users who accessed Netflix over the holiday weekend watched at least one episode of the show. Another study shows that roughly 10% of viewers who started watching the show have already made it through episode 10 and Netflix saw a jump in peak traffic over the weekend by 8-10%.
Whether they get it from Netflix or they illegally download it from a torrent site, people love the misadventures of the Bluth family. While this popularity likely will not lead to another season of “Arrested Development” its success, as well as the success of the other Netflix original shows is paving the way for more of this type of content to be produced in the future and it is helping Netflix redefine how we watch television.