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Game of Thrones was the second most downloaded show in 2011 behind Dexter before earning the top spot last year. And if preliminary figures from last night's season three premiere are any indication, HBO's hit series could very well earn the title again for 2013.
The season premiere has been downloaded more than a million times via BitTorrent in less than a day, breaking a number of records in the process according to TorrentFreak. The publication notes that there has never been a torrent with so many people sharing a file at the same time - more than 160,000 simultaneous peers at last count. The previous record was held by the season premiere of the hit television show Heroes with 144,663 peers.
Data shows that international viewers are among the most popular pirates. One of the main reasons for this has to do with the fact that people outside of the US often have to wait up to a week to see "new" content. It's a problem that HBO is trying to rectify but many diehard fans just aren't willing to wait.
Furthermore, it doesn't help that HBO is a premium pay channel in many regions, including the US. But according to HBO programming president Michael Lombardo, piracy isn't exactly hurting the show - it's a compliment. He went on to note that demand is still there and piracy hasn't negatively impacted DVD sales. These same sentiments were echoed by Game of Thrones director David Petrarca back in February.