Game of Thrones was illegally downloaded more than 14 million times in 2015, according to TorrentFreak’s annual compilation of the most-pirated television shows.
It’s the fourth year in a row that the HBO show has sat atop the most-pirated chart. TorrentFreak estimates that episodes of the show were downloaded 14.4 million times during the year, more than twice as many as the number two contender, AMC’s zombie thriller The Walking Dead, which had 6.9 million downloads. In third place is CBS’ Big Bang Theory, downloaded 4.4 million times.
The numbers suggest the GoT audience watching via piracy may be substantially larger than the show’s US television audience, which is estimated at 8.1 million.
2015 was the first year that US viewers were able to watch Game of Thrones, and other HBO content, without a cable subscription. Standalone streaming service HBO Now was launched in April, charging $15 a month for all-you-can-binge access to HBO programming.
Despite that, the audience watching GoT via unauthorized means has grown rapidly. Just two years ago, it was 5.9 million.
TorrentFreak says it creates its estimated piracy numbers from several sources, including public BitTorrent trackers. The published numbers are likely on the low side, since they can’t capture views from streaming sites or file storage sites.
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