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Game of Thrones Season 5 Premiere Sets Ratings Records Despite the First 4 Episodes Being Illegally Uploaded


ThronesTyrionWe’ve posted about Game of Thrones piracy and ratings so much in the past it almost loses all meaning but let’s jump into the fray once again, shall we?

At the end of last year, HBO’s hit series took home the title of “Most Pirated TV Program” for the third year in a row. That’s not the greatest title to have or keep, though some will argue piracy can actually help. However, last Saturday the first four episodes of Season 5 (the same episodes sent as screeners to press) were uploaded to the internet and massive file sharing began on torrent websites.

HBO released a statement early the next day which said, “Sadly, it seems the leaked four episodes of the upcoming season of Game of Thrones originated from within a group approved by HBO to receive them… We’re actively assessing how this breach occurred.”

TorretFreak said the episodes had “been downloaded more than 100,000 times in just three hours” and later updated to say “After 18 hours there were more than a million downloads for the first episode.”

And well, that’s incredibly shitty. Especially when you consider:

1.) It was someone from the press who chose to upload them (HBO screeners are not easy to come by, we speak from personal experience).

2.) People weren’t willing to wait 24 hours to watch legally.

3.) This is all shortly after HBO Now launched.

That aside, Watchers on the Wall reports:

The first hour of Game of Thrones season five was seen by 7,997,000 people. That rounds up to 8 million, but the show has not made the eight just yet. Another 0.7 million saw the 11 PM repeat, for a night total of 8.7 million. The Nielsen demographic rating itself also set a record with 4.2 (for what it is worth).

They also mention it set records in the UK as well so ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” ( She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."