Game of Thrones Is Still TV's Most Pirated Series

Game of Thrones Is Still TV's Most Pirated Series

Game of Thrones Jon Snow

HBO's Game of Thrones remains the most-torrented TV series of 2015, with finale downloads ranging in the millions.

Pretty much everyone is a fan of HBO's Game of Thrones at this point. And it's easy to see why - between Arya training under the Faceless Men, Tyrion meeting dragons, an epic White Walker battle, and that spoilerific final scene, Season 5 proved to be as compelling as ever. But there's another reason Game of Thrones was so widely viewed: It's the most-pirated TV series of 2015, with download numbers climbing far above those of legal viewers and cable subscribers.

Game of Thrones torrents were already off to a strong start thanks to four episodes which leaked early last April. By the time June rolled around, the Season 5 finale was downloaded an estimated 1.5 million times within 12 hours of the premiere. Current reports now suggest the finale has accumulated 14.4 million downloads, over half of which occurred a week after it aired. Meanwhile, the number of viewers watching Game of Thrones legally sits at about eight million.

Of course, these high piracy numbers aren't surprising - Game of Thrones is an insanely popular show airing on a cable network which only just starting offering streaming options this year. Game of Thrones is also crushing the competition among other torrented TV series, with The Walking Dead and The Big Bang Theory sitting at 6.9 and 4.4 million respectively.

"I probably shouldn't be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts," HBO programming president Michale Lombardo said back in 2013. "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."

With Game of Thrones' sixth season premiering in April, we'll soon learn whether HBO's streaming channels will put a dent in those numbers for 2016. But one way or another, I suspect all of us will be eagerly watching Game of Thrones next year.

Source: BBC, via International Business Times

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Eh, reports like this only serve to raise the paranoia to levels of ridiculous for people who only look at the immediate bottom line. They seem to universally come to the conclusion that every download is a lost sale of sorts.

*Overproduced news corp graphics and sound bite*
This just in! The status quo has not changed. We now return to your regularly scheduled programming.

Is there a reason why we're talking about this in December? Doesn't look like anything new has happened since June...

I have a feeling HBO would have had an easier time nipping this in the bud had they rolled out their streaming service with the season 2 premiere. Not really much can be done about it at this point, it's so easy to find the episodes mere hours after they premiere, if not sooner, and in some cases weeks in advance like what happened with season 5. Here's just hoping they don't use it as an excuse (deserved or not) to cut back on the effects.

Fun random fact I learned from Stephen Amells twitter. Arrow is the fourth most pirated television show. Go Arrow!

Still not surprising. HBO isn't worth the cost, in my opinion. Enable it enough to watch GoT but that ends up all we watch on it. Just not good anymore, compared to Amazon Prime TV, Netflix and the like.

It's just not a worthwhile use of money with all the other options.

So are we not even bothering to get angry at people who pirate this stuff anymore? It seems like people always find ways to make it HBO's fault that they chose to pirate content they had no right to in the first place. Kinda disgusting if you ask me.

Olas:
So are we not even bothering to get angry at people who pirate this stuff anymore? It seems like people always find ways to make it HBO's fault that they chose to pirate content they had no right to in the first place. Kinda disgusting if you ask me.

Its kind of like Yelling at a storm.

It makes you feel better, but ultimately does squatdiddly.

People will pirate as long as pirating is an option. There's not much else you can do about it at this point.

That being said there are a ton of sticking points.

HBO can only be legally watched in the United States which is fuckin stupid. There was a few news stories going around about people who were able to trick the system into thinking they were in the US to buy HBO Now having their subscription cancelled because they weren't supposed to have it in the first place.

Think about how asinine that is. These were customers, paying customers who knew enough about the internet to do that, which means they were absolutely capable of pirating the show instead chose to go out of their way to pay HBO to get their Game of Throne fix and they got cut off. HBO had their money and said "Nope, fuck you. You don't get to watch this legally so fuck off."

The majority of the world has only 1 legal option to watch HBO. Wait for the season box sets whenever they come out and buy those. Thats it.

Its no wonder people pirate the shit out of HBO stuff.

I don't tend to spout the gospel of Gaben that much, but he was absolutely correct when he said that piracy is a service problem. HBO has a major service problem in that they don't give a fuck about giving out a competent service.

Olas:
So are we not even bothering to get angry at people who pirate this stuff anymore? It seems like people always find ways to make it HBO's fault that they chose to pirate content they had no right to in the first place. Kinda disgusting if you ask me.

To watch Game of Thrones in Australia, one has to sign up to Foxtel (just about the only cable provider for the entire country) on a 12 month plan for $1599. Per year. That is currently the only legal course I'm aware of for anyone wanting to watch Game of Thrones when it airs. And before you chime in and say "but you get access to all the other shows too", that's like saying I have to purchase every game in the Steam Library just to play the first Portal. And would have to re-buy it every year just to retain access.

So yes, a large portion of the blame for the high piracy numbers lies square at the feet of HBO. I guarantee you that the minute they make their shows accessible worldwide for a reasonable price, those piracy numbers will plummet. Hell, HBO actively prevented people in Australia from paying for their HBO Go streaming service. People are willing to pay for this content, it's up to HBO to make it available. Until they don't? Drink up me hearties yo ho!

I have a feeling the new champ will be the new Star Trek show that is going to be exclusive to it's network's pay to access service.

Definitely a service problem. I don't even have a TV as it feels very much outdated.

If I had known about this series before season 3 (or something) I would probably have watched it, but it feels a bit much to start now.
Especially as I suffer under a data/bandwidth cap as well.

So in conclusion: I have never watched a single episode of this..yet.
Service problem.

I've seen it pirated because that new HBO program isn't available for the likes of me yet because of exclusivity deals that they made. I'll happily pay for it once I can, you know, pay for it and actually receive the product in return. Until then I'll just watch it with my friend who pirates it for the same reason.

I think it would be fair to assume that there is some overlap there. We don't have HBO in Australia (by coincidence, we are often the highest ranked pirates of this series, go figure), so I am wondering if the service allows offline viewing for those times when you want to watch, but don't have good enough Internet service.

shintakie10:

Olas:
So are we not even bothering to get angry at people who pirate this stuff anymore? It seems like people always find ways to make it HBO's fault that they chose to pirate content they had no right to in the first place. Kinda disgusting if you ask me.

I don't tend to spout the gospel of Gaben that much, but he was absolutely correct when he said that piracy is a service problem. HBO has a major service problem in that they don't give a fuck about giving out a competent service.

Starik20X6:

Olas:
So are we not even bothering to get angry at people who pirate this stuff anymore? It seems like people always find ways to make it HBO's fault that they chose to pirate content they had no right to in the first place. Kinda disgusting if you ask me.

To watch Game of Thrones in Australia, one has to sign up to Foxtel (just about the only cable provider for the entire country) on a 12 month plan for $1599. Per year. That is currently the only legal course I'm aware of for anyone wanting to watch Game of Thrones when it airs. And before you chime in and say "but you get access to all the other shows too", that's like saying I have to purchase every game in the Steam Library just to play the first Portal. And would have to re-buy it every year just to retain access.

Please. People don't have to watch Game of Thrones, I didn't start watching it till earlier this summer. I bought the DVD box set of the first season on Ebay because it was finally cheap enough that it seemed worthwhile. I've never had HBO. And even if the show never came to DVD or Blueray, that still wouldn't excuse pirating it. It would just excuse not watching it. So, no, It's not HBO's fault, and I don't have any sympathy for people who complain about HBO being dicks since the show wouldn't exist without them.

Shocker! When you charge fifteen bucks a month to watch one show of course pirating looks like a fantastic option for those with the know-how to do it. Not saying those people are right or not cheap, but that's pretty much how it goes. Doesn't help either that you don't give Netflix or Hulu streaming rights.

Maybe if they'd release the DVD/Blu-Ray versions worldwide shortly after each season ended AND charged a reasonable amount considering how much TV you are actually getting, piracy might go down a bit.

Last spring they tried an experiment by selling season one in smaller plastic cases instead of the giant cardboard ones. DVD was $20 and the Blu-Ray was $25. I bought the Blu-Ray on the spot, even came with streaming copy. Now I'm wondering if they'll ever do the other seasons like that. Not all of us want giant, expensive, boxes on our media shelves. Just give us the disks in affordable, streamlined packages.

As far as I know, it's still not available legally in Australia. I don't have Pay TV or a subscription to a streaming service, so I don't know for sure. If it's still not available here, people will pirate.

EDIT - Apparently, it's available on Foxtel. That's the same as buying cable TV in the US.

Are they really that clueless as to how the average consumer thinks? They don't give a hoot about your bottom line HBO, they just want to watch that show with all the boobs and murder... and they'll take the route of least resistance to do so.

In Ireland you either need to subscribe to Sky Digital for the Sky Atlantic channel (the only channel I know of that airs GOT here) or wait until the box sets are released and pay ?40. In order to watch the entire GOT show up to date now, you would need to spend close to ?200 (up to season 5) if you buy it with each season or wait until the entire show is finished and pay 50-60 for the complete boxset (2 more years you guys!).

I'm with Virgin Media (formerly UPC) and I'm quite happy with them. Most people I know are with Virgin Media. So the only alternative is overpriced boxsets... or illegal streaming.

My mum, for the longest while, had Sky which is how I managed to watch most of GoT legitimately myself, but in college the show was streamed constantly... one guy had most major shows downloaded and stored on a harddrive that he would plug into a TV for all to watch IN COLLEGE during break periods. I'd set my Moms skybox to record it each week and would watch an episode when I was home for the weekend (HD ftw).

HBO is neck deep in exclusivity deals which drastically limits who has access to the show. Meanwhile it's hyped to hell and back. Rather then opening up their stuff to more platforms so more viewers can watch it legitimately and more conveniently they instead throw their hands up and ask "why don't people just go through all the hassle to switch service providers for 1 freaking channel to watch one freaking show?"

I'm generally anti piracy, but as has been said in the past in regards to gaming, if you make your service more hassle then what the pirates provide, people will go with the pirates. That isn't an endorsement, it's just a fact.

I know people who paid for Netflix subscriptions just for a few shows, but that's less then ?10 a month. A basic Sky package is ?40-ish a month. No fucking wonder why people pirate it if this is a common occurrence worldwide.

 

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