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Despite Game of Thrones being more accessible than ever before thanks to the launch of HBO Now, the extremely popular fantasy TV show is also being pirated more than ever before, according to media intelligence company Tru Optik, who provided data to TorrentFreak.
Due to four episodes leaking online well before their air date, Game of Thrones was reportedly downloaded more than 32 million times from 18 million IP addresses during the first week of its airing. 13 million of these downloads were for the first episode, which is a significant increase on the amount of downloads for the first episode of the previous season during a similar timeframe.
While the leaked Game of Thrones episodes were only released in standard definition, after the first episode officially aired, the majority of downloads (43.5 percent) were of 720p copies. 480p made up 35.1 percent of downloads, while the highest-quality 1080p copies took up the remaining 31.4 percent.
As usual, Australia topped the charts for the most downloads per capita, with the country also recording a relatively high ratio of pirates to legal viewers. But the United States lays claim to the highest number of illegal Game of Thrones downloads overall, followed by France and Brazil.
TorrentFreak expects that Game of Thrones will once again be the most pirated TV show of the year, following on from its 'victories' in the past three years. If the piracy rate from just the first week continues, it could win in a landslide.