The fifth episode of Season 5 of “Game of Thrones” was illegally downloaded more than 2.2 million times in the 12 hours after it aired on HBO Sunday night, the piracy tracking firm Excipio revealed to the news site Circa. The figure is a new high for “Game of Thrones” piracy, which continues to set records thanks to massive illicit sites like Kickass Torrents and offshoots of the Pirate Bay.
The number doesn’t include downloads from invitation-only piracy sites or storage lockers like Usenet, where piracy once flourished. But the 2.2 million in 12 hours figure is still enough to beat the previous record of 1.86 million downloads in 24 hours. This was made possible by quick uploads to destination piracy sites, where files were available within minutes of the show’s ending on legitimate outlets like HBO and HBO Go.
The downloading doesn’t stop when the 12-hour window closes, though. Less than 24 hours after “Game of Thrones” gave fans the latest glimpse into the Seven Kingdoms, the fifth episode was available in more than 20 files on Kickass Torrents. Three of those files were stolen 250,000 times and climbing, making up a fraction of the episode’s available downloads.
This comes after the first episode of the current season was downloaded more than 32 million times in a week. Before that, pirates went into a frenzy when the first four episodes of the hugely popular show were leaked online. More than 8 million people watched the season premiere live on April 12.