'Game of Thrones' season four finale smashes piracy record

By Daniel Levine,

The latest season finale for HBO’s Game of Thrones may have drawn over 7 million viewers Sunday night, but it also drew thousands more who are not HBO subscribers. As the piracy problem for the show continues, the episode broke another record for illegal downloads of the show.

TorrentFreak, which tracks online piracy stats, said Tuesday that 254,114 people were sharing the same torrent file of “The Children” episode at the same time. In addition, 190,701 were sharing the file at the time that 63,413 were still downloading it.

That overall number of viewers for a single torrent smashed the previous record by over 50,000. The site reported that one episode in early May drew over 200,000 shares of a single torrent. One of the more shocking episodes of the season in April had 193,418 torrent shares in the hours after it aired.

Within 12 hours of the show’s premiere, it was downloaded around 1.5 million times, TorrentFreak said.

Over 7 million HBO subscribers watched the season finale legally. Overall, 9.3 million viewers watched the show over multiple airings on Sunday night, making it the most-watched season finale for the show.

Piracy has been an ongoing issue for Game of Thrones, as millions of people who don’t subscribe to HBO around the world try to see the show as soon as possible. Illegal downloads of the show are popular in the U.S., Australia, the U.K. and Canada, where GoT is available legally, but only if you pay a huge monthly cable bill. For the past two years, the show has been the most pirated on television.

Pictured: Maisie Williams, Rory McCann
Credit: Helen Sloan/HBO

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