The HBO series has been setting rating records for the season that just ended, so it might be no surprise that it also hit records for illegal downloading.
Aside from being the highest rated season finale for Game of Thrones, the latest episode also set new piracy records. According to piracy-monitoring blog TorrentFreak, the season 4 finale titled The Children had roughly 1.5 million downloads within just the first 12 hours after the finale aired on the premium cable network, with more than 250,000 users sharing the same file (a record-breaking “swarm” of users), as reported by EW.
On HBO, the episode has 7.1 million viewers, but the network doesn’t seem to be too annoyed by what’s happening considering that Jeff Bewkes, the CEO of Time Warner once said that piracy has helped HBO, leading to more subscriptions for the network. “Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world. That’s better than an Emmy,” he said.
This year, Bewkes added this statement: “There are numerous anti-theft tools we utilize and we have significantly shrunk the international distribution window for original programming to practically correspond with the US premiere. Unfortunately, with popularity comes piracy. Good news is Game of Thrones continues to grow significantly and tens of millions are watching the series legally around the world.”