“Game of Thrones,” HBO’s immensely popular series on both on TV and on piracy networks, has again set a new benchmark for illicit downloads in a 24-hour period — despite the premium cabler’s recent launch of a broadband-only service in the U.S.
The sixth episode of “GoT” season five notched 3.5 million individual users on peer-to-peer file-sharing sites, according to piracy-tracking firm Excipio. The previous record was held by episode 5 of the current season of “Game of Thrones,” which reached 3.22 million in the 24-hour period after it hit piracy sites.
The snowballing “Game of Thrones” piracy comes after the net launched HBO Now, a $15-per-month Internet service that doesn’t require a pay-TV subscription, on Apple TV and with Cablevision. Of course, HBO Now is available only in the U.S.
What’s particularly attractive about “Game of Thrones” to digital pirates? For one thing, the premium cabler’s series was victimized by an early leak of episodes 1-4 of season 5, which apparently were ripped from a press screener and uploaded to torrent sites nearly a full day before the April 12 premiere.
It’s worth noting that the piracy stats Excipio tracks are only for P2P file-sharing sites, so those exclude piracy-streaming sites. That means the number of illicit viewers is likely far higher than the 3.5 million registered so far.