The links began to pop up on the official “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” Facebook page shortly after 3 a.m. ET on Friday, Nov. 20. The 13-episode first season of the gritty super-antihero drama had just been released on Netflix, and the pirates did their work quickly, stripping and posting the episodes onto a smorgasbord of torrent and streaming sites, then advertising their availability sans Netflix subscription on the show’s page.
The message-spreaders were economical in their pitch: “Marvel’s Jessica Jones Season 1, Episode 13: AKA Smile [link].” “© Marvel’s Jessica Jones Season 1 Episode 1 – 13 [link].”
“Time to clear out the bar,” the show account responded to a Facebook user complaining about the brazenly posted links.
Clearing out this particular bar is well-nigh impossible, though. There are 528,000 Google results alone for “Marvel’s Jessica Jones torrent,” and the number of torrents available for download on a given site can stretch into the hundreds.
Forensic IT firm Excipio, which tracks online piracy, revealed to International Business Times that, as of Monday afternoon, there had been 853,537 downloads of “Jessica Jones” torrents since its release on Friday. The biggest offender, according to Excipio’s data? The United States, with 71,378 downloads.
Here are the top 10 pirating countries:
1. United States: 71,378
2. India: 61,117
3. United Kingdom: 57,451
4. Brazil: 53,812
5. Australia: 45,487
6. China: 30,234
7. Philippines: 29,148
8. Canada: 27,459
9. Italy: 22,613
10. France: 20,163
These numbers are well above those for fellow Netflix original “House of Cards” in its first weekend (681,889), and may yet top the number of downloads of “Marvel’s Daredevil” torrents for its first five days (2.1 million).
It’s worth noting that those numbers don’t quite touch the massive IP theft HBO and AMC have to deal with -- “Game of Thrones” and “The Walking Dead” were the most-pirated series worldwide last year, with 48.4 million and 47.6 million downloaded torrents, respectively, in 2014.
Netflix is a global company, but there are still plenty of countries where it hasn’t launched, including wide swaths of Eastern Europe, Asia and the entirety of Africa. (Netflix did launch in Japan in September.)
That said, Netflix is available in seven of those 10 countries (India, China and the Philippines are the exceptions). In territories where legitimate means to watch American-produced series don’t exist, high numbers of torrent downloads are easier to understand. The North/South American and Western European numbers are a little more troubling for Netflix CEO Reed Hastings and Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos, given that the company is still losing money on its international streaming segments, and growth in the U.S. has slowed slightly. (In its letter to investors at the end of the third quarter this year, the company said it expects to start making a profit from those international markets in 2016.)
“Great inexpensive services like Netflix will hopefully help prevent video from following the decline of music,” the company wrote in a long-term view note to investors.
Netflix did get a little less inexpensive this year for U.S. customers: new subscribers pay $9.99 a month, rather than $8.99, for the ability to watch two HD streams simultaneously. It’s hard to tell if a mere dollar is enough to dissuade a football stadium of people to even sign up for a free one-week trial, or if these are just people who are opposed to paying for content. Either way, Hastings and Sarandos might want to sic their superpowered PI on the scofflaws.