The fourth season of Game of Thrones has been the most-viewed so far, both through official channels and among pirates.
The season finale was therefore expected to break all previous records. The official U.S. ratings that just came in show that “The Children” was the most viewed season finale thus far, with 7.1 million people tuning in.
In the black market the same episode did well too, setting a mind-boggling piracy record. The latest episode resulted in the largest BitTorrent swarm ever. That is, never before have so many people gathered to share a single file on the Internet.
A few hours after the first torrent of the show appeared on torrent sites, the Demonii tracker reported that 254,114 people were sharing one single torrent at the same time. 190,701 were sharing a complete copy of that particular torrent while 63,413 were still downloading.
The previous record was also held by Game of Thrones, with a little over 200,000 people sharing a single file.
There was also quite bit of interest in higher definition releases. The most popular 720p copy was shared by 108,539 BitTorrent users simultaneously, and the most shared 1080p release had 23,922 people connected to it.
Data gathered by TorrentFreak further shows that, in 12 hours, the season finale has been downloaded an estimated 1.5 million times. Translated into actual data, that’s close to 2,000 terabytes transferred in half a day.
The download total is expected to increase to more than 7.5 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 brief inspection of the download locations shows that Game of Thrones pirates come from all over the world, as we’ve seen previously. The show is particularly popular in Australia, the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada.
Interestingly, Game of Thrones is available through legal channels in all countries listed above, albeit not cheaply.
Despite the massive piracy numbers, we haven’t heard too many piracy complaints thus far, quite the contrary.
Jeff Bewkes, CEO of HBO’s parent company Time Warner previously that piracy resulted in more subscriptions for his company, and that receiving the title of “most-pirated” was “better than an Emmy.”
In any case, despite, or perhaps thanks to the massive piracy, Game of Thrones is doing better than ever.