The number of illegal downloads for TV episodes suggest that FREE might not be good enough to satisfy some viewers.
TorrentFreak has compiled a list of the most downloaded TV shows in 2010.
At the top of the list is ABC’s Lost, which had around 5.9 million downloads per episode even though the show was available for free on services like Hulu.
The demand for downloads is mainly attributed to users from outside the US, where access to shows are limited or delayed for weeks until they are released locally. While accessibility to shows via Hulu is attributed to the decline of downloads from US viewers, there is still a segment of users that prefer to download the shows.
Paid Content suggests that some of this can be attributed to hard-core fans who like to have personal archives of the shows they watch available in high-res and portable across devices.
The 5.9 million users could also be motivated by the seemingly unpredictable, and haphazard nature of licensing issues that would limit access in the future. As of January 1, 2011, the five seasons of Lost are no longer free on Hulu and only available to paid subscribers of HuluPlus.