When the season four premiere of HBO's fantasy-drama series Game of Thrones aired on Sunday night, a record 6.6 million viewers tuned in legally. Another million-plus viewers pirated the episode, setting another record. Jeff Bewkes, CEO of Time Warner, which owns HBO, called the new piracy record “better than an Emmy.”
The Sunday night episode entitled "Two Swords" garnered a number of viewers not seen since the series finale of HBO's The Sopranos in 2007, and the level of piracy exceeded the previous record, which was held by the Game of Thrones season three premiere.
BitTorrent protocol blog TorrentFreak reported over a million downloads within 12 hours of "Two Swords" airing, with the majority of the torrents being shared in Australia. Naturally, due to HBO's subscription-only status, piracy is rampant. Though another contributing factor was the crashing of HBO's streaming service, HBO Go, due to overwhelming demand.
Here is the Game of Thrones season 4 trailer:
Game of Thrones was created for HBO by David Benioff and D. B. Weiss. The series is an adaptation of A Song of Ice and Fire, a set of fantasy novels penned by George R. R. Martin. The complex storyline is set in the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos at the end of a decade-long summer, and concerns the dealings of several noble families in a civil war over the Iron Throne of the Seven Kingdoms. Sex and violence prevail, as an army of zombie-like creatures gain strength in the northern reaches of the fantasy realm.
Torrent downloads in the United States came in behind those in Australia at 9.3%. File sharing was also significant in the United Kingdom, Canada, The Netherlands, Philippines, India, Greece, Poland and Sweden. HBO has roughly 114 million legal subscribers worldwide, and has also made Sunday night's GOT episode free to XBOX live users.
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