The seventh season of Game of Thrones has achieved some incredible feats. It surpassed 10 million live viewers per episode five times, with the finale stacking up an incredible 12.1 million live views. To top it all off, this was the most watched season to date! One can easily imagine that #HBO is extremely satisfied with the performance of their hit show, but they must also be dissatisfied to find out that their beloved show was pirated over one billion times.
Torrent Freak reports on the piracy tracking outfit MUSO's numbers. Although it's difficult to measure piracy with accurate statistics, the company estimated that the latest Game of Thrones season was pirated more than a billion times. Apparently, the favored mode of pirating is still illegal streaming services, as 85% of the pirated views came from streaming sites. Meanwhile, torrents and direct downloads are the least popular, with only 9% and 6% respectively. To put that into perspective, Torrent Freak states,
"This means that on average each episode was pirated 140 million times, compared to 32 million views through legal channels."
As you can see, these figures are mind-blowing. It's important to include that MUSO isn't even looking at the whole picture, and instead gives a modest estimate. As Torrent Freak highlights, MUSO's data doesn't include any piracy traffic coming from China (a major piracy hub) or alternative pirating sources, which could mean that the figures are actually a lot higher than currently estimated.
What Impact Does This Have On HBO?
Of course, Game of Thrones is by no means new to this. Back in 2011, the show's first season got to be the second most pirated show after Dexter. Since 2012, the show has been winning the title of the most pirated TV show. HBO (probably) isn't too happy about this achievement, although it could be argued that this is something the network can still boast about – given how it goes to show just how popular their fantasy epic really is. It should also be noted that HBO doesn't necessarily lose money because of the illegal streaming, as a huge part of their revenue comes from other avenues such as merchandise.
The question of how illegal streaming affects a successful show like Game of Thrones still doesn't have a definite answer. Despite this, it looks like Game of Thrones is an unstoppable force like no other, whether fans are using HBO to view the show or not. So, expect Season 8 to break new records, even when it comes to piracy.
Season 8 begins filming this coming October and the release date expected to be sometime in late 2018 or early 2019.