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The hit HBO series Game of Thrones was named the most pirated television show of 2012. Showtime’s Dexter, which topped the list last year, came in second.
TorrentFreak, which covers news on BitTorrent and file sharing, released its annual list of the most pirated shows Sunday, with the hit series based on George R.R. Martin’s books at the top.
The series averaged 4.28 million downloads for an episode. That’s more than the average 4.2 million U.S. viewers who tune in each week during its second season. According to Entertainment Weekly, the show’s second season finale drew 5.1 million viewers.
Dexter, which averages 2.75 million viewers, had 3,850,000 downloads for a single episode.
Most of online TV piracy occurs outside of the U.S., where many fans have to wait weeks for the next episode or they might not have legal access to them at all. The site found that 80 percent of TV piracy is from outside the U.S.
Still, U.S. viewers have been pirating Game of Thrones, since HBO doesn’t offer a standalone HBO GO subscription for the show.
The rest of the list includes CBS’ The Big Bang Theory and How I Met Your Mother, AMC’s Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead, Showtime’s Homeland and Fox’s House and Fringe. NBC’s freshman drama Revolution held the tenth spot.
TorrentFreak notes that HBO and other networks will have to continue to find ways to give viewers the shows they want when they want them without losing the traditional revenue streams. When they can do that, TV piracy will likely decline.