Internet pirates have pillaged HBO fantasy series Game of Thrones, which ranked as the No. 1 most-downloaded TV show of the year, according to file-sharing news site TorrentFreak.
A single episode of Game of Thrones was downloaded 4.28 million times in 2012, according to a TorrentFreak blog post. The website did not indicate which episode that was.
HBO said the Game of Thrones Season 2 averaged 10.4 million viewers per episode across all platforms. With the show's Season 2 finale this summer, HBO tallied 4.2 million viewers for the live premiere on June 3 at 9 p.m., with an additional 910,000 tuning in to the replay at 11:10 p.m.
In part to deter piracy, HBO has launched HBO Go, which makes full seasons of all original shows as well as movies and specials available to subscribers on the Web and via multiple devices. HBO Go is available through cable, satellite and telco TV operators representing more than 98% of pay TV households.
Rounding out TorrentFreak's top 10 most-pirated TV shows were: Showtime Networks’ Dexter (3.85 million downloads of a single show); CBS’s The Big Bang Theory (3.2 million); CBS’s How I Met Your Mother (2.96 million); AMC’s Breaking Bad (2.58 million); AMC’s The Walking Dead (2.55 million); Showtime’s Homeland (2.4 million); Fox’s House (2.34 million); Fox’s Fringe (2.28 million); and NBC’s Revolution (2.13 million).
TorrentFreak said the data is based on reports from all public BitTorrent trackers and other sources. More than 80% of illicit downloads of American TV shows occur outside the U.S., according to TorrentFreak, which suggested the top reason consumers resort to BitTorrent is because they cannot otherwise access the content.