Game of Thrones repeats as most-pirated TV show
Categories: Arts & Entertainment
(Note: this post does *not* contain any story spoilers for the latest season of Game of Thones or the Ice and Fire novels.)
Game of Thrones, HBO's blockbuster television show based on the Song of Ice and Fire novels, has a dedicated fanbase equally entertained and horrified on a weekly basis for the past three seasons.
But it's also acquired a more dubious honour: it was the most-pirated show for the second year in a row, with more illegal downloads than any other program.
According to TorrentFreak, Game of Thrones' Season 3 finale "Mysha" was downloaded 5.9 million times, while only 5.4 million watched it on television.
Breaking Bad's series finale came in second with 4.2 million downloads. The rest of TorrentFreak's top 10 single episode downloads include The Walking Dead (3.6 million downloads), The Big Bang Theory (3.4 million downloads) and Dexter (3.1 million downloads).
Interestingly, Game of Thrones' estimated number of downloads was higher than the estimated number of people who watched it on their televisions via presumably legitimate cable subscriptions. The Breaking Bad finale, by comparison, enjoyed more than 10 million on-air viewers.
The show based on George R.R. Martin's novels has been breaking piracy records on a regular basis. The Season three premiere was downloaded more than one million times within 24 hours of airing on HBO, and Season two enjoyed an average 4.3 million downloads for each of its 10 episodes.
Despite these gigantic numbers, a number of show runners and network producers have gone on the record, and don't seem to have a problem with its millions of fans getting their fix via Bit Torrent instead of HBO Go.
In August Jeff Bewkes, CEO of HBO's parent company Time Warner, said Game of Thrones' download numbers were "better than an Emmy."
"Our experience is that it leads to more paying subs [subscriptions]," he said.
In February, show producer David Petrara said that illegal downloads aren't something he worries about because the program thrives on "cultural buzz." He later clarified the statement, however, saying that while the buzz was great, he was "100 per cent, completely and utterly against people illegally downloading anything," according to The Verge.
Several commentators have said that HBO's restrictive access to the show contributed to the high numbers of illegal downloads. Simply put, unless you subscribe to a cable television package that includes HBO, you won't have access to episode downloads until the DVD and Blu-Ray collections appear in stores the following year.
Several studies have shown, though, that fans who illegally download tv shows, movies and games also spend more money buying those items than those who don't download them. In the case of Game of Thrones, fans will download the episodes as soon as they air, but then purchase the DVDs when they're available, along with tie-in mugs, shot glasses, supplementary books, beer and other branded merchandise.
As PBS Idea Channel's Mike Rugnetta puts it, "that has to be a real bee in the bonnet of anti-establishment downloaders. Turns out you guys might be helping The Man."
Do you watch Game of Thrones? If you do, did you download the show, buy the DVDs or Blu-Rays, subscribe to HBO or all of the above?
Tags: Arts and Entertainment
More entries for category: Arts & Entertainment
Meet the Community Team
CBC News Community team, from left to right: Andrew Yates, Lauren O'Neil, John Bowman
If you're part of the CBC News community, you're likely to meet one of us: we're the folks working to produce and promote your stories. Read more about us.
Other Your Community Entries
- 2013 (1262)
- Calgary author calls out Air Canada for same-name ticket transfer policy
- 2013 in review: Top news hoaxes and frauds
- 'Felfies': Farmer selfie trend delights the web
- The Brick's website glitch has readers hitting a wall
- Canadian Tire Ice truck makes bid to shatter world record
- Glow-in-the-dark pigs created by Chinese scientists
- #BeAMan phrase turned on its head on social media
- Have the bombings in Russia changed your Sochi Olympics plans?
- 'Selfie King' James Franco waxes poetic about... selfies
- A year in Play-Doh: Sculptures recap 2013
- Bachelor producer Elan Gale live-tweets epic feud with rude airline passenger
- 5 short videos that tell the story of Black Friday
- Sharkeisha: sucker-punching teen turns viral sensation
- Pot-smoking Mountie should leave RCMP, CBCNews.ca readers say
- Thanksgivukkah mashes up rare double holiday
- Why are gay men not extinct? A discussion of science, history
- Teacher goes viral with lesson about dangers of posting online
- Girl's "distracting" hair prompts school to threaten expulsion
- Gap's response to racist graffiti praised by Sikh community
- CBC readers split on Trudeau's use of Layton's words
- Photoshop fail prompts apology from Chinese government
- Rob Ford crack video scandal makes headlines around the world
- New York City raises smoking age to 21, debate follows
- Facebook can predict breakups, study shows
- California woman Cecilia Abadie gets first ever Google Glass driving ticket
- Canada's Olympics uniforms get mixed reviews from Canadians
- 'Funeral selfies' get their own Tumblr
- LIVE CHAT Replay: Pipeline safety in Canada
- How #skybluepink and 3,500 strangers comforted dying man Brian Curtis
- Royal Canadian Legion asks Reddit to remove poppy over trademark
- Cookisto lets you buy your neighbours' leftovers
- 20 per cent of Yelp reviews are fake, study shows
- White House's Obamacare pitch recruits fuzzy animals
- Breaking Bad withdrawal sets in as fans say goodbye to series
- Jesus was the original tweeter, says Vatican Cardinal
- Cheating husband needs 10K Facebook "likes" to reunite with wife
- Breaking Bad, Netflix foil spoilers ahead of finale
- Control-Alt-Delete was a mistake, says Bill Gates
- Google celebrates 15 years with doodle, throwback Easter egg
- Rihanna, Teyana Taylor Twitter feud provokes domestic violence outcry
- Grumpy Cat, Lil Bub meet at Internet Cat Video film festival
- Foam finger inventor angered over Miley Cyrus performance
- Tomatina tossers see red over food fight fee
- New app Streetmix lets you design city of your dreams
- Underwater hockey championships shine light on niche sport
- Indie musicians cry foul over foreign worker fees
- The Onion celebrates 25 years of satirizing politics, kittens
- Syria's digital war explodes on social media frontlines
- Neil Armstrong died last year, died again on the internet yesterday
- Patrick Stewart teaches 'quadruple take,' becomes captain of internet
- U.S. inmates can pay for jail upgrade
- Viral 'Camp Gyno' ad is a game-changer
- Scalpers sell Apple Genius Bar appointments in China
- McDonald's burger hailed cheapest, most nutritious food ever
- A Gonzo journalist and his Google Glass
- Readers react to police POV surveillance video debate
- 'Cop selfies' blog raises questions about digital narcissism
- Princess Diana graces Vanity Fair's September cover
- Young cancer victim lives on in favourite game
- Teen Rubik's Cube star sweeps world champs
- Great Canadians Near You: Jeremy Dias
- Party hats top surveillance cameras for George Orwell's birthday
- Google recruits Street View mapping volunteers
- New Yorker recruits Bert and Ernie to celebrate same-sex marriage ruling
- '3-parent' fertility treatments sparks reader debate
- School kids correct celebrity grammar mistakes on Twitter
- Calgary's kids create adorable thank-you notes for volunteers
- Wendy Davis pink trainers sell big online
- June photo contest: How do you start your morning?
- Do you think the Queen deserves a raise?
- Generation Why says farewell for now
- 'Prancercise' founder sashays across the web
- Readers debate merits of anti-bullying video depicting suicide
- Fired Mayor Ford chief of staff laughs it up on Twitter
- Amish teens on Rumspringa rush for Facebook
- Grumpy Cat goes from meme to movie star
- CBCNews.ca readers react to the death of Dr. Henry Morgentaler
- Facebook to crack down on gender-based hate following outcry
- Bank of Canada cries fraud on $90K 'Duffy buck' cartoon
- Canadians react to the death of Dr. Henry Morgentaler
- Illegal wildlife trade thrives on the 'dark web'
- Stanford students seek bone marrow match for beloved professor
- Google Glass user's shower photo freaks out internet
- Canada's new polymer notes get orbital boost
- Inmates use Yelp to review prison conditions
- Canadians react to foreign worker program changes
- VOTE: April Photo Contest Finalists
- Alberta public employees, government tweet across the picket line
- Fashion-savvy seniors flaunt 'Advanced Style'
- Praise rolls in for gay NBA player Jason Collins
- Generation Why: March 29
- Prominent Canadians bid farewell to Ralph Klein on Twitter
- Ralph Klein: Share your condolences
- Vera Wang ditches $500 'try-on' fee in China following global outcry
- Live Online replay: The star power of pandas
- B.C. ad evokes Amanda Todd to warn against 'just one photo'
- 'Stop rape' dislodging 'stay safe' advice on social media
- Brands support same-sex marriage in U.S. debate
- 'Rent a Mourner' fills your funeral with fake friends
- Ogooglebar! Sweden's spat with Google inspires 'ungoogleable' fun
- REPLAY Pope Benedict resigns: What's next for the Catholic church?
- Russian 'ghost' ship has Twitter intrigued
- Beijing woman's dummy tummy stunt on Subway causes outrage
- CPC, Wildrose, CBC line up to cut ties to Flanagan
- Vote for our February photo contest winner
- Married couple sought for millionaire's Mars mission
- Boeing's bid to replace CF-18s gets CBCNews.ca readers talking
- Vatican scrubs @pontifex Twitter account
- Rosa Parks statue unveiled on Capitol Hill
- Morrissey and Jimmy Kimmel in feud over Duck Dynasty
- Opposites attract: Tell us your unlikely love story
- Youth for hire: employing 'Generation Jobless'
- Fired HMV employees take over Twitter account
- Toronto company puts your head on a Pez dispenser
- Perfume for babies released by Dolce & Gabbana
- U.S. man shot in driveway mix-up mourned online
- World reacts to new Blackberry phones, Alicia Keys hire
- Will BlackBerry 10 turn things around for the company?
- Is Volkswagen's new Super Bowl Commercial racist?
- Graphic porn invades Twitter's Vine app
- December (91)