Though the reign of the seven kingdoms is still up for grabs, there's no doubt who the king of piracy is.
Once again, Game of Thrones broke records for torrenting following the airing of its season 3 finale on Sunday night.
According to data gathered by TorrentFreak, the season finale of the incredibly popular HBO series garnered 171,572 people active on a single torrent - 128,686 sharing a complete copy and 42.886 still downloading. This breaks the record of 163,088 active downloaders set back in April with the season 3 premiere of Game of Thrones.
TorrentFreak says the the finale was downloaded over a million times in the first 24 hours of availability.
I have a feeling that this piracy record will last a little less than a year - until the season 4 premiere. There's simply no reason for the high levels of torrenting to cease. HBO is still firmly committed to their HBO GO or bust position on content streaming, and in most areas of the world (save Scandinavia), HBO GO availability is tied to a cable subscription. With limited availability, where else will a cordcutter turn?
Although there are no indications that HBO plans to budge on their position any time soon, there have been hints that they may be softening. Earlier this year, HBO CEO Richard Plepler suggested the maybe, just maybe HBO could consider a world where HBO GO could be offered in the U.S apart from a cable subscription.
But is HBO even that worried about the piracy in the first place? A few months ago, HBO programming head Michael Lombardo said that it's kind of a "compliment of sorts."
“I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts. The demand is there. And it certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales. [Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network,” he said.
And Game of Thrones director David Petrarca also hinted that the piracy isn't that big of a deal, saying that shows like that rely on cultural buzz and that downloading is tied to that.
We'll see how it pans out next season. Now begins the long wait, which I'm sure will feel like the longest of Westeros winters.