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Irdeto Pits Ghost, Zombie and Slasher Movies against Each Other in Media Piracy Battle; Ghosts Take the Lead with 54% of Illegal Downloads


SAN JOSE, Calif. – 28 October 2015 – In the lead up to Halloween, illegal peer-to-peer downloads of current and classic scary movies increased by 21% worldwide from October 14th to October 23rd, according to Irdeto, a world leader in digital platform security. Irdeto investigated piracy trends of some of the most popular horror movies and TV shows released in the past 45 years. This included classics like Night of the Living Dead, new movies like Hotel Transylvania 2 and popular scary TV shows like the new season of The Walking Dead. Irdeto found that Insidious was the most pirated scary movie with 56% more downloads than the 2nd most popular film, Poltergeist, and 72% more downloads than the 3rd most popular film, The Shining.

For more data and visual breakdowns of the illegal downloads tracked, please see Irdeto’s infographic: The Horror of Piracy.

Ghosts Freeze Out Zombie and Slasher Flicks

Irdeto tracked a sampling of the world’s favorite scary movies in a genre battle for the ages. Ghost-themed movies accounted for a bloodcurdling 54% of overall illegal downloads, Zombie movies shuffled in at 27% and Slasher flicks chopped off 18% of downloads. Slasher movies made the biggest jump in this time period, with downloads increasing by 36%. Zombie movie downloads increased by 25% and Ghost movie downloads increased by 22%.

The interest in and celebration of Halloween has become a global phenomenon. Irdeto found that the United States and Russia pirated the most scary movies overall, each tallying in at 12% of illegal movies downloaded. The U.S. is also responsible for the most Ghost movie (11%) and Slasher movie downloads (25%). It was Russia, however, that took the lead in pirating Zombie themed films, with 23% of the category’s downloads.

“As scary as this sounds, piracy data can help pay TV and OTT operators understand what their customers demand and may not have legal and affordable access to,” said Rory O’Connor Vice President, Services, Irdeto. “By looking at spikes in piracy, you can determine the most advantageous content, timing and format for your video service offerings in specific markets. For instance, consumers in the United States gravitate to older horror flicks that generate nostalgia around Halloween. It is quite possible for older video content to rise from the dead during key points of the year.”

Piracy of The Walking Dead is Infectious Worldwide

The Walking Dead continues to be the most pirated scary TV show that Irdeto tracks, accounting for 44% of total illegal television downloads, followed by American Horror Story at 28%, Dexter at 10%, Grimm 9%, iZombie at 7% and Hemlock Groveat 2%.

“One reason that Hemlock Grove may be less pirated than the others is due to Netflix’s binge-style release all of seasonal episodes at once,” said O’Connor. “Releasing episodes all together may help combat piracy by tapping into the consumer’s need for instant gratification. But on the flip side, this strategy also prevents content providers from capitalizing on the grassroots marketing engine that comes with traditional episodic release.”

It Takes a Lot to Scare Brazilians and the French

Based on the data collected, Brazil and France pirated the most horror content overall (both movies and TV shows), with both countries accounting for 11% of illegal downloads worldwide respectively. The top 10 countries account for 60% of total illegal downloads.


Data collection

Irdeto collects Business Intelligence that tracks BitTorrent piracy and focuses largely on those services competing for the “additional consumer dollars” beyond basic subscription packages. Reports cover the most popular TV shows from Pure OTT Operators (Amazon Prime, Crackle, Hulu, Netflix) vs. Premium Broadcasters (HBO, Showtime, Starz) and Broadcasters with syndication deals with the Pure OTT Operators (AMC, FX). The information was collected between the time period of October 14th and 23rd of movie titles from the 1970s to today. The findings uncover insights that can help operators understand the interest in content by region and capitalize on that demand. This is key intelligence for future multiscreen and hybrid television strategies.

About Irdeto

Irdeto. Building a Secure Future.™

Irdeto is the world leader in digital platform security, protecting platforms and applications for media & entertainment, gaming, connected transport and IoT connected industries. Our solutions and services enable customers to protect their revenue, create new offerings and fight cybercrime. With nearly 50 years of expertise in security, Irdeto’s software security technology and cyber services protect over 5 billion devices and applications for some of the world’s best-known brands. Our unique heritage as a subsidiary of multinational media group Naspers (JSE: NPN) means that we are a well-established and reliable partner to help build a more secure future. Please visit Irdeto at

For further information, please contact:

Irdeto Media Team