How Piracy May Have Killed ‘Hannibal’



Many, including us, were very disappointed when NBC announced that Hannibal was being cancelled.

The series was artistic, beautifully designed, wonderfully performed, and proudly macabre. The hardcore fans, which came to affectionately be known as Fannibals, were understandably upset. The #SaveHannibal movement gained traction and 50,000 people signed a petition to get NBC to embark on a fourth season. Hope came when it was reported Hulu, Amazon and Netflix were eyeing the series, but to no avail.

The show’s spending and air time didn’t warrant the numbers coming in. Basically, NBC found it wasn’t worth it and pulled the plug. Ratings are only registered with viewers tuning into legitimate sources, such as the network itself or associated digital channels. Watching illegally downloaded content simply doesn’t count as a view.

“When nearly one-third of your audience for Hannibal is coming from pirated sites– You don’t have to know calculus to do the math,” Martha De Laurentiis, the Hannibal executive producer who was key in getting the fan support up and running when the cancellation was announced, said in a recent interview with Yahoo.

“If a show is stolen, it makes it difficult, if not impossible, to fairly compensate a crew and keep a series in production.”

Hannibal was reportedly the fifth-most illegally downloaded television series in 2013. Piracy focusing on shows such as Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead is no doubt huge, but it’s important to remember that those shows also benefit from big, legitimate numbers. It’s true, Hannibal didn’t see huge ratings, but less rampant piracy here would have mostly likely meant higher measurable numbers and thus more reason for NBC to keep the show on the air.