It seems everyone is getting ready for the season five premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones on Sunday night -- even the pirates.
Pirates, like a lot of consumers who have been riveted by the show, appear to be bingeing out ahead of the new season, as episodes from seasons 1-4 of GoT were downloaded more than 7 million times between February 5 and April 6, keeping the hit HBO show as the most pirated show worldwide, according to data collected by Irdeto.
Irdeto, which tabulated its filching figures by tracking illegal download data traversing the BitTorrent peer-to-peer network in more than 200 countries via its proprietary software and Web crawling technology, said this was a 45% increase from the same period a year ago (for GoT seasons 1-3).
During the Irdeto-monitored period in 2015, GoT averaged almost 116,000 downloads per day, versus 36,000 per day in the year-ago period.
In the U.S., previous episodes of the series were pirated almost 37,000 times in the first week in April, just ahead of the launch of HBO Now, HBO’s new standalone OTT service, Irdeto found. Brazil, though, was the biggest source of GoT piracy, followed by France and the U.S. Among other countries, illegal downloads were down 27% in Russia, but spiked 115% in India.
Digital pirates also love them some AMC. AMC’s The Walking Dead was the second-most pirated show in the monitored period in 2015, with 5.7 million downloads, followed by AMC’s Breaking Bad (3.8 million), History’s Vikings (3.4 million), and Netflix’s House of Cards (2.7 million).
“It’s often said that piracy is good marketing, but as piracy continues to skyrocket, the mindset is shifting toward offering a compelling legal alternative like HBO Now to start converting pirates into paying customers,” said Rory O’Connor, vice president, services, Irdeto, in a statement. “Our piracy data indicates Game of Thrones continues to be wildly popular in countries like Brazil and France, where a service like HBO Now could be a good way to recapture some revenue.”
HBO Now, he added, “represents a distribution model in line with how consumer consumption patterns are changing.”