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Vince Gill, the creator of Breaking Bad, admitted that illegal downloads helped the show as it was a way for new fans to discover the show.
The show's final episode raked in over three million downloads only half a day after it aired, Torrent Freak notes.
That number is higher than any episode of the previous season.
Gill spoke with the BBC where he felt that illegal downloading was both a boon and a problem for the show, noting, "I see that there are two sides to this coin."
He added, "If I'm being honest I see that the illegal downloading led to a lot of people watching the series, becoming aware of the series who otherwise would not have been."
While Gill was willing to admit that internet piracy helped in a way, "certainly in terms of brand awareness," he doesn't believe it's all good. "The downside is that a lot of folks who worked on the show would've made more money, myself included."
The BBC notes his thoughts echo with other series who have seen heavy illegal downloading. One such program is Downton Abbey, which started airing in the U.K., but won't start in the U.S. until early next year, sees heavy downloading, but isn't really affected. Executive producer Gareth Neame said, "The three month delay between the UK broadcast, we air in September and we're not on in America until January, it is completely unrealistic in this day and age that there is such a long timeline."
Torrent Freak notes Game of Thrones director David Petrarca felt that downloading helped created a "cultural buzz." And Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has said that being "most-pirated" was "better than an Emmy" and lead to more subscriptions.
Of course not everyone is so positive about it. Atlantis executive producer Johnny Capps believes that illegal downloading will affect a show's budget negatively along with its creativity.