The season finale of Game of Thrones has set a new BitTorrent record with more than 170,000 people sharing an episode simultaneously. In just one day more than a million people have downloaded a copy of the show, figures no other TV-show comes close to. Despite the invasion of pirates, HBO wants to keep the show as an exclusive and is not expected to put it on Netflix anytime soon.
Yesterday evening the season finale of Game of Thrones aired on HBO and shortly thereafter the first unauthorized copies were uploaded online.
In recent weeks the hit show has been shared millions of times online, but never before have we seen this many people sharing the same file.
Within a few hours after it was released hundreds of thousands grabbed a copy of the show via The Pirate Bay and other torrent sites, breaking the old record Game of Thrones set just a few weeks ago during the premiere of the third season.
At its height the Istole tracker reported that 171,572 people where active on a single torrent, 128,686 sharing a complete copy while 42,886 were still downloading.
Data gathered by TorrentFreak shows that, within 24 hours, the season finale has been downloaded a million times. This could increase to more than five million during the weeks to come and means that unless a miracle happens, Game of Thrones will be crowned the most pirated TV-show of the year once again.
A new record
As previously revealed, Game of Thrones downloaders come from all over the world. Most downloaders come from Australia, followed by the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom.
Australia stands out in this list as it also has the smallest population, and this hasn’t gone unnoticed.
The Ambassador of the United States of America to Australia recently complained about this “plain theft” by Australians. However, since the local cable provider has chosen to decrease instead of increase availability next year, things are not going to change anytime soon.
In the U.S. the situation is not much better, and to a certain degree one could claim that HBO is to blame for Game of Thrones’ BitTorrent record. They want to keep access to the show “exclusive” and even Netflix wasn’t able to buy the rights no matter what they offered.
It’s clear that HBO prefers more exclusiveness over less piracy, a stance that is reflected in recent comments from HBO programming president Michael Lombardo. He sees piracy as a compliment and doesn’t believe it negatively impacts DVD sales.
The huge numbers of unauthorized downloads don’t bother the show’s makers all that much either, quite the contrary.
David Petrarca, the show’s director, noted that these unauthorized downloads actually do more good than harm. According to the director, pirates are partly responsible for the “cultural buzz” the show needs to thrive and survive.
Game of Thrones will be back next year, and if most torrent sites are still unblocked in in most parts of the world, we can expect another record to be set.