11:07am PT by Hilary Lewis
'Under the Dome' Piracy Up Amid Time Warner Cable's CBS Blackout
Time Warner Cable's CBS blackout has forced TV fans to find other ways to watch their favorite shows, including downloading them illegally.
The percentage of unauthorized downloads from areas affected by the blackout rose dramatically this week, according to data gathered by TorrentFreak.
That particularly was true of CBS' summer hit Under the Dome, a new episode of which on Monday couldn't be seen by Time Warner Cable subscribers.
Under the Dome already is one of the most pirated TV shows at the moment, but piracy rates for the show increased 34 percent over the weekend, after Time Warner Cable's CBS blackout took effect.
TorrentFreak monitored U.S. BitTorrent downloads of last week's episode and of the one that aired Monday. In markets served by Time Warner Cable (Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Chicago, Dallas, Denver, Detroit and Pittsburgh), relatively more people downloaded the latest episode.
The blackout regions accounted for 10.9 percent of all sampled illegal downloads for last week's Under the Dome. For Monday's episode, the blackout regions made up 14.6 percent of sampled downloads: a 34 percent increase.
In New York, one of the largest affected markets, the piracy rate for Under the Dome increased from 1.3 percent of all U.S. downloads to 3 percent for Monday's episode.
TorrentFreak cautions that one should be careful of drawing strong conclusions from this data, particularly because it's unknown how many downloaders are Time Warner Cable subscribers. But the data does show that the blackout resulted in a local piracy surge.
Meanwhile, ratings for Monday's episode of Under the Dome dropped.
Time Warner Cable dropped CBS stations Friday after the companies failed to reach an agreement over retransmission fees. The standoff has continued this week, with the heads of both companies trading barbs in the press.
TorrentFreak notes that as long as this continues, more TV fans may turn to alternative means of watching their favorite shows and might not return to viewing them on TV once service is restored.
Monday's episode of Under the Dome is available for free on CBS' website, where the network streams many of its shows. CBS long has resisted joining ABC, NBC and Fox on Hulu. New episodes of Under the Dome also are available on Amazon Instant Video starting at $1.99, but they don't debut until Fridays, which may be too long to wait for die-hard fans.