The seventh season of Game of Thrones has brought tears and joy to HBO this summer. Those numbers are something of a dark ratings system, and it's yet another measurement by which Game of Thrones is the most popular show on television.
Piracy is hard to accurately trace, especially where streaming is concerned, but those figures come from piracy tracking organisation MUSO. According to a report from TorrentFreak (via Screen Crush), the data piracy firm MUSO estimates each of the season's seven episodes were pirated about 140 million times each.
Pirate streams have proven a lot more popular than torrents and downloads, accounting for 85 per cent of the 1,029,787,668 illegal views.
MUSO has labelled the numbers "staggering" and "totally unprecedented".
"With official figures for legal channels estimated to average 31 million viewers per episode, these figures show that piracy eclipsed legal viewings", the company says.
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As of September 3 premiere of the season was illegally viewed more than 187 million times, making it the most frequently viewed episode of the season, the sixth episode has been viewed 184 million times, and the season finale illegally looked 143 million times. The remaining 0.6% caught the episodes via private torrent.
In addition, the data shows that despite a heavy focus on torrent traffic, unauthorized streaming is a much bigger problem for rightsholders.
It's worth mentioning that these figures are only estimates, with information sourced from SimilarWeb. The sample data covers thousands of popular pirate sites and is extrapolated into the totals.
It's clear though, which doesn't really come as a surprise, that Game of Thrones piracy overall is still very significant.
HBO would never publicly acknowledge it, and obviously they'd be thrilled to find a permanent solution to piracy, but it seems likely that, on some level, they're impressed by the show's piracy numbers.
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