Tech Dec 31, 2015 08:40 AM EST

Game of Thrones is the most pirated TV show of 2015

By Staff Writer

Game of Thrones was the most pirated TV show of 2015, with the fantasy drama's season 5 finale downloaded an estimated 14.4 million times on BitTorrent. For the fourth year in a row Game of Thrones has taken the crown for the most pirated TV-show on the Internet. The Walking Dead is firmly in second place, followed by The Big Bang Theory.

The information came out after HBO decided to increase its efforts to stop piracy by airing its shows on HBO Now across different regions, and to people without cable subscription.

According to TorrentFreak, The Walking Dead and Big Bang Theory are among the top three shows in the US with an estimated 6.9 and 4.4 million downloads respectively.  Game of Thrones was  downloaded mostly in the first week after the show aired and the downloads have exceeded the total number of traditional viewers in the country. The show also broke another piracy record in June, when 258,131 people shared the same torrent file of the series' season finale at the same time.

The number of downloads of the season 5 finale of Game of Thrones  was just double the  people estimated to have watched it on TV at the time. The piracy of higher quality releases has increased compared to the earlier years. The lower quality 480p copies of TV-shows are most downloaded and popular among online viewers, followed by 720p and 1080p respectively.

Yahoo news says that, the Game of Thrones finale was viewed by 8.11 million people on TV. But that figure is much more as it does not take into account other methods of watching the episode legally.  People have viewed Game of Thrones on HBO Go streaming service through subscriptions. This year, HBO launched HBO Now, which is a new service that allows those without cable subscriptions to sign up and stream its shows online.

The Verge reports that, it is Games of thrones who have more torrent downloads than the TV viewers, while most other shows in top 10 list have more estimated TV viewers than pirates. For example, the most torrented episode of The Big Bang Theory, was downloaded 4.4 million times - a fraction of the show's 18.3 million-strong viewership. 

There is increasing number in piracy of Game of Thrones. Online streaming and downloads for file-hosting services are not included since there are no public sources to draw data from. Total piracy numbers will therefore be significantly higher.

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