HBO’s Game Of Thrones continues to set records (and subsequently break them), but the latest milestone hit by the show is somewhat of a dubious honor. For the third straight year, the series was the most pirated program on illegal file-sharing sites.
According to TorrentFreak.com, the most recent Game Of Thrones season finale was downloaded more than 8.1 million times in 2014 — a tally that’s particularly notable because the episode only had an estimated 7.1 million live viewers when it aired.
Of the top ten most-downloaded episodes of various programs, Game Of Thrones is the only series to have its most popular episode pirated more than it was watched live.
The site’s rankings suggest that the competition for most-downloaded series wasn’t even close, either, with the next-highest program being (no surprise here) The Walking Dead. The most downloaded episode of that series was illegally snatched 4.8 million times, but attracted 17.3 million live viewers.
Similarly, the most pirated episode of The Big Bang Theory generated 3.9 million downloads (putting it at #3 on the list) and 18.2 million live viewers.
It’s worth noting that these download statistics are probably a conservative estimate of each show’s popularity in the file-sharing world, as the site’s tracking doesn’t account for some of the online streaming or file-hosting services that are popular methods for viewing (and sharing) a file.