‘Game of Thrones’ Piracy for Season 4 Premiere Reaches Record Levels

Game of Thrones season 4

The most pirated series on TV is showing no signs of losing that dubious distinction.

The fourth-season premiere HBO’s “Game of Thrones” Sunday became an instant hit on file-sharing networks worldwide, exceeding first-day piracy levels achieved by its third-season premiere well before its first 24 hours on the Internet. By all accounts, “Thrones” is peerless among TV shows in its ability to drive peer-to-peer copyright infringement.

Piracy-tracking firm Excipio detected 1.17 million unique IP addresses accessing torrents of the season premiere within the first 15 hours of the episode popping up online. That’s more than “Thrones” racked up in the first 24 hours following its April 1 release of the third season last year, which reached 1.15 million.

The United States is far and away the biggest source of that piracy, with Excipio data pointing to 198,000 unique IP addresses, almost 17% of total traffic. Australia and Canada trail with over 187,000 and 93,000 respectively.

While the prospect of mass freeloading on its hit series might seem worrisome to HBO, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes has professed to not be concerned by the piracy, citing its promotional value. “Thrones” has also spurred some other digital issues, with the fourth season premiere causing HBO Go to crash Sunday.

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  1. Bob says:

    You know what’s really kick ass… of the tracked downloads there are likely 10 times that number of actual distribution for the purposes of viewing. There are sooo many more ways than torrents to get data over the net. I am happy the tracking is sticking more to the mainstream than to the elite.

  2. Michael says:

    I know that I’m probably in the minority of fellow pirates, but at least in my case, HBO missed out on a sale. The past three years, I’ve been an HBO subscriber but due to a house remodel, I find myself living in a place where I can’t get HBO. I went to Amazon, iTunes, and Google Play to buy the episode but it wasn’t there! So yes, I downloaded it. But you know, couldn’t you at least give people the option of buying it? Maybe only 2% will buy it as opposed to pirating it anyway, but it’s already in digital format anyway via HBO Go (as an aside, why not sell HBO Go subscriptions?).

    • The reason for not allowing is because lets say its available online for anyone for 50 USD, now people who have suscribed to cable channels for lets say 200 USD Per Month will start unsubscribing because they can get the show online, so why do you need cable subscription? Its for this reson only that they are not offering it online for anyone. (the only way you can get HBO Go is by providing your current subscription details) Last year it was avalable online in iTunes Australia but only after 2-3 episodes they stopped selling it becuase of the pressure created by cable channels who were worried that it would result in less viewers hence less revenue. Also another funny fact is that the HBO Go website crashed for the Premier Episode, but if you are already a subcriber (remember you need your current subscription details to get HBO Go) and watching it on your big LED TV why would you concurrently watch it online? :)

    • Denise says:

      They would have made 2 sales because I would have purchased it too.

  3. John Shea says:

    Piracy as promotion? Long John Silver would have loved that!

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