Leaked episodes from the fifth season of “Game of Thrones” have been downloaded over 32 million times by more than 18 million computers, according to piracy researchers. The huge torrent figures set a new piracy record for the medieval-fantasy series, which is also attracting more viewers than ever on HBO.
The episode that kicked off Season 5, titled “The Wars to Come,” was downloaded more than 13 million times, according to numbers provided to TorrentFreak by the media intelligence tracker Tru Optik. That alone is more than the fourth season's premiere and finale combined, TorrentFreak reported.
This season seems different because the first four episodes leaked onto illicit torrent sites before the season premiered on April 12. But data proves that many pirates are willing to wait for a high-quality download rather than settling for the scratchy, bootleg quality of the leaked videos. Of all the post-broadcast downloads, 43.5 percent of the pirates downloaded versions in 720p, or high-definition, quality. Another 21.4 percent selected 1080p, which is clearer than 720p but takes longer to download and takes up more computer storage.
The show is more popular on HBO, too. More than 8 million people watched the show on HBO earlier this month, beating the 7.1 million viewers who watched the Season 4 premiere and the 4.4 million who tuned in for the beginning of Season 3.
“If you go around the world, I think you're right, that 'Game of Thrones' is the most pirated show in the world,” Jeff Bewkes, CEO of Time Warner, which owns HBO, said during an earnings call with investors in 2013. “Now that's better than an Emmy.”