Game of Thrones has taken out the illustrious title of 'Most Pirated TV Show' for the second year in a row, according to data from TorrentFreak. At its peak - the season finale titled 'Mhysa' - the popular HBO TV show was downloaded an estimated 5.9 million times over BitTorrent networks, which was slightly higher than the 5.5 million viewers that tuned in on television in the United States.
In 2012, Game of Thrones was downloaded 4.28 million times at its peak (with 4.20 million TV viewers), meaning 2013's pirated viewership increased by 37%. Other TV shows that topped the list for 2013 included Breaking Bad (4.2 million downloads), The Walking Dead (3.6 million) and The Big Bang Theory (3.6 million).
TorrentFreak: Most downloaded TV-shows on BitTorrent, 2013
|Rank||Show||Estimated Downloads||Estimated US TV Viewers|
|1||Game of Thrones||5,900,000||5,500,000|
|3||The Walking Dead||3,600,000||16,110,000|
|4||The Big Bang Theory||3,400,000||20,440,000|
|6||How I Met Your Mother||3,000,000||9,400,000|
Out of the top ten most pirated TV shows of 2013, it's not surprising to see seven shows that are only available on cable networks. Looking at the data provided by TorrentFreak also reveals that only three shows (Game of Thrones, Dexter, and Homeland) that were downloaded more than viewed on TV itself.
Speaking of the piracy of Game of Thrones, Jeff Bewkes, CEO of HBO's parent Time Warner, said that people pirating the show generated needed "cultural buzz", and that the title of most pirated was "better than an Emmy". His position is an interesting one to hold in the world of television networks and organizations that are, for the most part, vehemently against piracy.