Apple TV+ hit Foundation among 2021’s most-pirated shows


The Apple TV+ series Foundation finds itself a favorite among digital pirates.
The Apple TV+ series Foundation finds itself a favorite among digital pirates.
Photo: Apple

The eagerly anticipated and much-praised Apple TV+ original series Foundation, based on the epic Isaac Asimov novels of the 1950s, has received a modern-day distinction, of sorts — it’s among the most-pirated shows of the year online. As such, it’s in good company.

It’s not quite the same sort of honor as the scads of awards Apple TV+ has been winning for shows like Ted Lasso and Stillwater, but it’s impressive nonetheless.

Apple TV+ subscribers and torrent-based fans

Based on Asimov’s award-winning Foundation trilogy, published as stories in the 1940s and collected in novel form in the early 1950s, the show topped the list of most-anticipated Apple TV+ shows for many folks in 2021. That led many of them to subscribe to Apple TV+, no doubt, but it also tempted a fair number to download the show on torrent websites.

This marks the first time an Apple TV+ show made the list of most-pirated shows on the web in the course of a year, TorrentFreak reported. Apple TV+ launched in 2019.

On the list of most-pirated shows, first and second place go to Wandavision and Loki, both Disney+ shows, while Netflix’s The Witcher takes third. Foundation showed up in seventh place. As you can see from the list, it’s heavy on fantasy and sci-fi.

The top 10 most pirated TV shows of 2021

  1. Wandavision (Disney+)
  2. Loki (Disney+)
  3. The Witcher (Netflix)
  4. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier (Disney+)
  5. Hawkeye (Disney+)
  6. What If…? (Disney+)
  7. Foundation (Apple TV+)
  8. Rick and Morty (Cartoon Network/Netflix/HBO Max)
  9. Arcane (Netflix)
  10. Wheel of Time (Amazon Prime Video)

The ranking above is based on the number of episodes downloaded rather than whole shows downloaded. This could account for popular shows released all at once, like Netflix’s Squid Game, not making the list.

TorrentFreak said the number of people searching for pirated shows rose while the streaming market began to fragment, with more streamers entering the fray. Not long ago, Netflix was the main game in town. But recently, major tech companies like Apple and studios like Disney and Paramount have waded in. Users don’t necessarily want to pay for all of them.

You can see the first season of Foundation on Apple TV+, available by subscription for $4.99 a month. Apple renewed the show for a second season.


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