Despite numerous legal setbacks and continued pressure from copyright holders, The Pirate Bay is still here. In recent years the notorious torrent site expanded its reach with millions of users, each looking for the latest multimedia content.
The site’s status as one of the largest online media libraries has also piqued the interest of researchers, who are closely following what people are sharing.
Previously we documented how the number of files uploaded to The Pirate Bay increased 50% in just a year, and that more than one-third of the uploads are adult content.
A new study, conducted by researchers from the Institut Mines-Télécom in Paris and Madrid’s Universidad Carlos III, confirms the Pirate Bay’s expansion and adds several new insights. The researchers looked at large samples of torrents from various Pirate Bay categories, and polled the active sharers at various points in time.
From their data samples, which span from 2009 to 2012, the researchers draw three main conclusions.
- The number of high-definition video torrents on The Pirate Bay increased more than 500%.
- The median file-size of all torrents has doubled.
- Between 40-50% of all torrents point to video content and 80% of the total downloads come from these torrents.
During the latest measurement in 2012, high-definition video torrents accounted for 8.2% of the total, up from a mere 1.5% in 2009. As a result, the number of people downloading these files also surged, now making up nearly 10% of all downloads.
“The popularity of High-resolution PORN and VIDEO content follows the increasing availability of this type of content. While it only attracted 1.87% of the downloads in 2010, it has increased its popularity 5 times by receiving 9.62% of the downloads in 2012,” the researchers write.
Another result of the increased availability of high-definition videos is that the median size of all content indexed by The Pirate Bay has doubled over the years.
“The median value of the content size in 2009 was 223MB and increased by 53% (to 341MB) in the next five months, and it kept growing up to 370MB and 458MB in 2011 and 2012 respectively,” the researchers write.
The researchers’ data could act as a warning signal to Internet providers, who need to make sure they can handle further increases in their network usage. Not just with BitTorrent in mind either, but also other pirate sources such as cyberlockers where similar patterns may emerge.
“These findings are useful to those Internet players (i.e. ISPs, CDN operators) involved in the content distribution business in order to update their infrastructures, resources and algorithms to efficiently distribute and serve multimedia content,” the researchers conclude.
It will be interesting to see how the demand for high-definition content develops. With increasing broadband penetration and bigger screen sizes, the upward trend is expected to continue in the years to come.
Source: TorrentFreak, for the latest info on copyright, file-sharing and VPN services.