“Game of Thrones” is the most popular TV show on the planet right now.
An average of 31 million people legally watched each of season seven’s seven episodes — but this pales in comparison to the number of times it has been pirated.
According to piracy analysis company Muso, the complete seventh season was illegally watched over one billion times.
“Game of Thrones,” based on the “A Song Of Ice And Fire” books by George R. R. Martin, is a sprawling epic, dealing with court intrigue, fantasy wars, and dragons. It is always pirated heavily, regularly appearing at the top of “most-pirated” lists measuring illegal downloads in any given year.
Season seven, which finished at the end of August, broke new records for the show for viewing figures — and pirates were keen to get in on the action too.
Muso’s analysis includes illegal streaming, torrenting, and direct downloads. It estimated that as of September 3, the season’s episodes had been viewed illegally 1,029,787,668 times.
In an emailed statement, Muso Andy Chatterley said: “Game of Thrones has become one of the biggest global entertainment phenomena of today and activity across piracy networks has been totally unprecedented. It’s no secret that HBO has been plagued by security breaches throughout the latest season, which has seen some episodes leak before broadcast and added to unlicensed activity.”
Interestingly, episode six was watched illegally more times (184 million) than the finale, episode seven (143 million) — likely because it leaked out nearly a week before its air date.
The lion’s share of the illegal activity came via streaming, which made up just under 85% of the total. Torrents, meanwhile, accounted for 9%, and direct downloads were less than 6%.