Time Warner Cable blackout causes CBS-related piracy to spike

Late last month, a failure to negotiate fees between Time Warner Cable and CBS resulted in the first company dropping the latter one from its service in many markets, causing about 3 million people to lose access to the network. Although a truce was offered earlier this month, the spat continues, and in its wake leaves a long trail of spiked piracy rates.

Although both companies have suffered in their own way over the spat, subscribers on both sides have found themselves caught in the cross-fire, and the ramifications of the companies' actions has become apparent: TV show pirating has spiked dramatically since Time Warner Cable dropped CBS and, out of retaliation, CBS blocked access to full streaming episodes to Time Warner customers.

The information comes from the folks over at Torrent Freak, who report that the percentage of downloads of pirated content has increased quite a bit in the regions that had their access to the network blocked, with a large spike showing up over the weekend. The TV show Under the Dome was used to gauge this, having had its illegal download rate jump by 34-percent this past weekend.

The information was gathered by monitoring BitTorrent downloads in the United States of the latest episode of Under the Dome, which many Time Warner Cable subscribers missed out on due to lack of access, as well as the one that aired before that. The numbers showed that the latest episode (having aired after the blackout) was downloaded in higher numbers in the affected areas.

The second to last episode had a download rate of 10.9-percent in the U.S., a number that increased to 14.6-percent for the latest episode. The highest region to see a jump in piracy was New York City, which increased from 1.3- to 3-percent for the newest episode. Although anecdotal in nature, the coincidental timing of these increased downloads seem to indicate what we already knew: remove a legal means for consumers to watch their favorite TV shows and they'll simple gravitate to illegal methods.

SOURCE: Torrent Freak