Piracy Skyrockets as New Season of Game of Thrones Makes its Premiere


The premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones season 3 is now the most pirated torrent on the Internet, having broken the records set by Heroes and Dexter.

The episode, which premiered on March 31 (Sunday), delivered 4.4 million viewers. But more than that, some one million viewers also downloaded it after the first day it aired. In fact, according to piracy tracker TorrentFreak, some 163,000 people were simultaneously downloading the episode at one point.

That broke the previous record by Heroes’ season 3 debut episode in 2008, which was pegged at just 145,000 simultaneous downloads.

But such a heavy swap of digital file for one episode alone did not shock TorrentFreak. After all, the show was the most pirated series of 2012. During the season finale last year, some 4.3 million people downloaded, seeded and leached the show’s torrent.

That’s about 500,000 people more than the record set by Dexter, the second-most pirated show on the Internet.

Aside from surpassing the one-million mark, TorrentFreak doesn’t have the exact figure yet as to how many people downloaded the Game of Thrones season 3 debut episode. But according to the tracker’s data, London is the city with the most illegal downloads of the episode at 4.3 percent while the United States is the country with the heaviest downloads at 12.9 percent.

Following the US is United Kingdom, 11.5 percent; Australia, 9.9 percent; Canada, 7.4 percent; France 4.4 percent; The Netherlands, 4.2 percent; Spain, 3.2 percent; Sweden, 3 percent; Philippines; 2.6 percent; and Norway, 2.5 percent.

London is followed by Paris, 3.2 percent; Sydney, 3 percent; Melbourne, 3 percent; Amsterdam, 2.2 percent; Athens, 1.8 percent; Stockholm, 1.6 percent; Madrid, 1.6 percent; Perth, 1.5 percent; and Singapore, 1.3 percent.

Game of Thrones Piracy is a Sign of Success

Although Hollywood does not take kindly to piracy, HBO’s programming president Michael Lombardo told Entertainment Weekly recently that they view the pirating of Game of Thrones as a sign of success more than a problem. It is not to say that Lombardo supports piracy of films and television shows, but he recognized the demand and the success of the series.

He said it is a compliment that people who cannot subscribe to HBO are still trying to find a way to watch the series. The interest of the public is certainly piqued. Also, Lombardo said the piracy does not negatively impact the DVD sales of the series. If anything, the interest shown by the people in downloading it from torrent websites might even help in creating enough buzz for its original DVD copy.

Lombardo said HBO is running after people who are selling copies of their shows, and not people who are simply sharing them over torrent networks. Piracy, he said, is something that will automatically happen because of the success of a show on a subscription network.

But the show’s co-creator, David Benioff, has a different take on the phenomenon. He said that if all those who downloaded the show can just shell out 99 cents each, then they could have afforded the extra scenes with the dragons.

Sources: TorrentFreak

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