Apparently, the Game of Thrones pirating army is one that even Khaleesi could be proud of.
When it comes to the Spring television season, HBO's hit show sits atop the iron throne. With an estimated 5.2 million downloads per episode, it's not even close. The runner up, The Big Bang Theory, only pulled in an estimated 2.9 million downloads per episode . Here's the rest of the top 10, courtesy of TorrentFreak:
- Game of Thrones - 5.2 million
- The Big Big Theory - 2.9 million
- How I Met Your Mother - 2.85 million
- The Walking Dead - 2.7 million
- Hannibal - 2.1 million
- Vikings - 1.9 million
- Arrow - 1.85 million
- The Vampire Diaries - 1.8 million
- Modern Family - 1.75 million
- Revenge - 1.7 million
According to TorrentFreak, this means that Game of Thrones piracy is way up - a 25% increase from season 2.
This shouldn't really come as a huge surprise - all signs have been pointing to Game of Thrones retaining its title as the most pirated show on television. The season 3 premiere broke torrent records, only to have its records beat by the season 3 finale of the show.
And we should expect this to continue when the show returns for season 4. It looks as if HBO is firmly planted in its current model, which ties subscriptions to cable subscriptions. As long as that's the case, and there's no standalone HBO GO service offered in top piracy areas like the U.S., U.K., and Australia, people are going to continue to download it. And it's not like people wouldn't be willing to pay for HBO.
Either way, it's not clear that HBO even feels that hurt by the piracy. 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 said that shows like his rely on cultural buzz that's tied to downloading. He later walked those statements back a bit, but the thought remains - at what point does the downloading become particularly problematic for HBO?