ABC may have pulled the plug on cord-cutters by imposing an eight-day delay on non-cable or Hulu subscribers, but the audience may be having the last laugh: according to Tru Optik, the ABC decision has spiked downloads using the open-source BitTorrent protocol, which includes downloads from sites like PirateBay, by 300 percent.
Tru Optik bases the crux of its argument on a single show, Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. Despite the fact that the show has middling ratings, according to Nielsen, the Joss Whedon-helmed action show is now the fourth most illegally downloaded show in the world. In addition, the show’s download rate spiked after ABC restricting episodes to cable customers and Hulu Plus subscribers. The numbers tell quite a dramatic story, one of the rebellion by those who have already eschewed traditional cable acquiring the shows they want to watch by any means possible.
However, it is only one show, so there’s nothing crystal clear about cord-cutters’ spite for ABC. There may be a clearer indication of the affect cord-cutters are having on pirate sites once it gets closer to sweeps and season finales — it might just be too early to tell, however poetic the story may be.