Hundreds of thousands of people across the world have used torrent sites to download the third season of “House of Cards” since the Netflix-only series debuted in its entirety on Feb. 27. It's clear that the popularity surrounding “House of Cards” isn't limited to Netflix subscribers or even just Americans, as many of the countries where torrents of the show are most popular don't have access to the streaming service.
Episodes ripped from the third season were available for free on major sites such as KickassTorrents within hours of the show's debut on Netflix. EZTV, the popular TV torrent site, appears to have been the first to host “House of Cards,” though it was far from the only option. There were more than 681,889 unique downloads within the first 24 hours, according to numbers assembled by the piracy-tracking firm Excipio and published by Variety.
That's a sizable increase from February 2014, when “House of Cards” season two was downloaded 320,927 times.
The numbers seem to contradict the old argument that availability and affordability curb piracy. That's only partially explained by Excipio's list of 10 countries where “House of Cards” was pirated the most. Netflix isn't available in China, India, Australia, Poland or Greece, though it is available in the rest of the countries on the list:
- United States
- United Kingdom
Excipio's figures don't include downloads tallied after the 24-hour window expired. Nearly 20,000 people have downloaded “House of Cards” files that have surfaced since then, based only on the listings at EZTV and KickassTorrents.
The show revolves around the exploits of Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey), a U.S. vice president, who, along with his wife, schemes and backstabs his way through political channels. Corruption as a theme must resonate internationally, though, since people across borders evidently can appreciate the same show.
“I wish I could support this show, I have no choice to download because I'm addicted to it,” wrote a commenter on one piracy site. “God bless the United States [of] entertainment.”