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Game of Thrones is Officially the Most Pirated Television Show of 2012

the internet is serious business

Game of Thrones lost out on the “most pirated television” title last year to Dexter. Could the scrappy younger show pull out the ignominious win this year?


Yes it could.

Forbes predicted in May that Game of Thrones was on its way to being the most pirated show of 2012, based on the research of Big Champagne, a BitTorrent-tracking and analysis firm. Naturally, their prediction was only based on four months of data, and it’s tricky enough to try and figure out what the entire internet is downloading in any given period. But those predictions have turned out to be entirely accurate, according to, with a blockbuster 4,280,000 downloads for a single episode of the series.

In fact, the list goes:

  1. Game of Thrones
  2. Dexter
  3. The Big Bang Theory
  4. How I Met Your Mother
  5. Breaking Bad
  6. The Walking Dead
  7. Homeland
  8. House
  9. Fringe
  10. Revolution

Both TorrentFreak and Big Champagne pointed to two factors in Game of Thrones‘ pirateability: airing delays, and the inability to find a legal way to watch current episodes online. According to TorrentFreak’s research, a Game of Thrones pirate is more likely to be Australian than any other nationality, where new episodes of the show air a week later than their American debut. Where TorrentFreak’s number become really interesting, in my opinion, is where they compare the number of downloads a show generated with the number of US viewers it attracted during its airing. While Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, and Homeland have roughly equal numbers on both sides, Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, The Walking Dead, and Revolution have download numbers that are orders of magnitude smaller than their legal viewership. It just goes to show, and particularly in the case of The Walking Dead, that a wildly popular genre show can cultivate an audience of overwhelmingly legal viewers.

(via Gizmodo.)

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