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'Breaking Bad' creator says piracy helped the show find new viewers

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The entertainment industry has been getting a little more comfortable with praising the benefits of online piracy, and Breaking Bad creator Vince Gilligan is the latest to speak to its brighter side. "[It] led to a lot of people watching the series who otherwise would not have," Gilligan tells the BBC. Gilligan has previously remarked that TV binge-watching was a large factor in getting viewers wrapped up in his show, noting in May that Netflix in particular brought about an "amazing nitrous-oxide boost of energy and public awareness" that the series was able to take advantage of.

But while Breaking Bad may have benefited from the added buzz generated by piracy as well, Gilligan isn't strictly thrilled that viewers didn't choose another avenue to watch his show through. "The downside is a lot of folks who worked on the show would have made more money, myself included, if all those downloads had been legal," he tells the BBC. The series' finale alone was downloaded over half a million times within just 12 hours of airing. While AMC did sell the series online, it chose not to offer a free, ad-supported stream of it as many other networks do with their own shows, removing a potential avenue to gain viewers who don't want to pay.