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World watches American TV, not always legally

Published on Sep 21, 2013 11:30 AM

LOS ANGELES (AFP) - Fun TV fact: Desperate Housewives is a cult hit in North Korea. Slightly less surprisingly, shows like Breaking Bad and House are watched everywhere, from Latin America to China to France.

But, as America's TV stars and bosses gather in Los Angeles this weekend for the Emmys, the massive success of United States (US) shows abroad also highlights a clear problem - a huge proportion of viewers are watching their products illegally.

"It's definitely a big problem," said Tim Westcott, senior TV analyst at international media consultancy IHS Screen Digest.

"People outside the US can download pirate copies of a new US show only minutes after it's aired in the US via various file sharing sites," the London-based expert told AFP.

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