Game of Thrones holds many crowns, but this is one we’re sure HBO is not exactly celebrating.
For the fifth straight year, the fantasy drama from George R.R. Martin has been declared the most-pirated television series. It once again beat AMC’s The Walking Dead, and is now joined by what many are calling a possible Game of Thrones successor: Westworld.
Before we go too much farther, please remember that in most countries including the United States and Canada, piracy is illegal, and you shouldn’t do it. When you download television shows illegally, those are funds that are not being returned to the show you’re watching, and it could very much hurt the chances of the show having as long of a life as it deserves.
At the same time, however, we can’t ignore piracy and the impact that it has in potentially building audiences for shows that hopefully gets translated into home DVD sales and other ways television outlets like HBO and AMC generate revenue to help keep these shows on the air.
TorrentFreak shared its annual listings Monday, but it excluded one key factor that it has included in the past – the number of times the show has been downloaded.
We have decided to stop reporting download estimates in our yearly top lists. Due to various changes in the torrent index/tracker landscape, it’s become more challenging to monitor downloads, so a ranked over makes most sense.
But there could be another reason as well – directly downloading shows is not the only major way programs are pirated these days. The site says that many people have made the switch from torrents to sites that will actually stream the pirated feed instead – kind of like an illegal Netflix filled with shows people haven’t paid for. It is possible that such streaming piracy activity could replace physical downloads in the near future, and it might become far more difficult to track television show piracy.
Piracy for Game of Thrones was actually flat compared to last year, TorrentFreak said, when its 14.4 million downloads easily topped Walking Dead‘s 6.9 million and Big Bang Theory‘s 4.4 million.
The CBS geek-filled comedy is still in the top piracy list, but is now ranked sixth, moving behind both The Flash and Arrow, two of The CW’s major superhero shows with DC Comics. Rounding out the list are Vikings from History, Lucifer from Fox, Suits from USA Network and The Grand Tour from Amazon Video.
Grand Tour is a new entry, hosted by former Top Gear hosts Jeremy Clarkson, Richard Hammond and James May.
Westworld was a bit of a surprise addition to the list, the news site said, sharing that it “quickly gained popularity in pirate circles” and that its current third-place ranking is “quite an achievement.”
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