Another big Game of Thrones episode, another piracy record broken. Season four finale “The Children” (recap here) smashed the record previously held by “The Lion and the Rose.” And the season three finale. And the season three premiere. All men must subscribe to cable. But we are not men. (Well, some of us are men.)
According to TorrentFreak 254,114 people were sharing a single torrent on late Sunday night, while “The Lion and the Rose” only got a paltry 200,000 people at once. In the 12 hours since the episode aired, it was downloaded approximately 1.5 million times, with the download total “expected to increase to more than 7.5 million during the weeks to come.” 7.1 million, incidentally, is the number of people who tuned in legally, making “The Children” Game of Thrones’ most-watched season finale.
Game of Thrones has always had a, shall we say, complex relationship with piracy. It’s consistently TV’s most pirated show, and on top of all the torrenters it has a ton of people watching it on their parents’/friends’/complete strangers’ HBO GO accounts, which is also technically illegal. Luckily, HBO doesn’t give a crap if you do that (because they think people who “borrow” someone else’s HBO GO account are more likely to subscribe to HBO themselves in the future, LOLOL). If you can suffer through the outages and the buffering, more power to ya. People have long cried for an a la carte HBO GO subscription option, which put simply just isn’t an option right now the way the cable world is set up: The torrent (ba-doom-ch) of $10-$15 monthly fees they’d get from current pirates wouldn’t be enough to compensate for the ruined relationship with cable providers, who rely on the triple figures they get from each individual cable subscriber.
TL;DR—We’ll be looking at another piracy record when Game of Thrones season five premieres, probably.
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