There are a lot of reasons why people use BitTorrent or other file-sharing services and technologies to pirate movies, TV shows, music and so on, and most of them don't have to do with price. The main reasons why people turn to BitTorrent are ease of use and availability.
If a movie isn't slated to be launched in theaters in their country for a few more weeks, or months, but it's readily available on BitTorrent, only a few clicks away, there's little incentive to wait.
That's even more obvious when it comes to TV shows. Anyone living outside of the US is treated like a second class citizen by both the big broadcasters and even the cable networks.
Shows may be a season or more late in some places or they may not be available at all if no local TV station deems it worth it to acquire the rights and broadcast a show.
All of that said, pirating TV shows, at least on BitTorrent, is leveling off, according to data gathered
by TorrentFreak. In fact, the number of people downloading TV shows has been declining slowly in the past few years.
That's especially true in the US and it's easy to understand why, free or cheap alternatives such as Hulu and Netflix offer the convenience of BitTorrent downloads with none of the legal issues.
Of course, at least in some places, people are finding illegal online streaming services, which have been popping up lately, to be even more convenient than BitTorrent and that may also account, at least partially, for the decline.
TorrentFreak put together a top 10 of the most downloaded TV shows of 2011, ranked as average downloads per episode. Conveniently, the blog also included estimated viewer numbers from the US for the same shows.
Interestingly, the first two shows had more downloaders than they had viewers in the US. In fact, the top most downloaded show of the year, Dexter, had 3.62 million downloaders on average per episode, but only 2.19 million viewers in the US.