HBO’s Game of Thrones is the top pirated TV show of 2017 for the sixth year in a row, beating the likes of The Walking Dead and The Flash. Throughout its long run on HBO, Game of Thrones has broken a lot of records. Most seasons, it notches higher ratings than it had the year before, and last year, its season 7 premiere drew the largest audience of any premiere to date. The series has also broken records for the highest ratings of any HBO show in the network’s history. The show’s audience, possibly due to viewers catching up between seasons, seems to get noticeably larger ever single year.
There’s another realm in which the fantasy series has frequently re-written the record books: The amount of illegal downloads, streams and other illegal viewings of the show. On top of the major profits it makes through all of the legal channels through which it is watched, Game of Thrones has topped the list of most pirated TV series for nearly every year of its existence – and 2017 is no different.
Related: Game of Thrones Breaks Ratings Record (Again)
Game of Thrones was indeed the most pirated TV show in 2017, as reported by the website Torrentfreak, which covers the content piracy beat. This is the sixth straight year that Game of Thrones came in first in these rankings. The Walking Dead once again was second in the piracy rankings, with The Flash coming in third. The site, though it has in the past, no longer released raw numbers of torrents; it also only measures sites accessed through BitTorrent, and not through other channels.
Over the years, the dynamics of Game of Thrones piracy have changed, with the arrival and growing popularity of HBO Go, HBO Now, and another avenues for legal streaming of the network’s shows, which have eliminated the justification by some pirates that the lack of an HBO subscription left them with no choice. Changes in the ease and availability of pirating technology, as well as faster download speeds, have also changed the dynamics over time.
There was one key difference this year that contributed to the piracy: Multiple episodes of the series were leaked in advance by hackers, – and on one occasion, by HBO itself. This allowed Game of Thrones fans to not only avoid paying for episodes, but to actually watch them prior to their legitimate arrival on HBO’s platforms.
At any rate, since Game of Thrones’ eighth season is unlikely to air until 2019, the most-torrented list may have a new champion in 2018.
Next: Google’s Top-Trending TV Shows of 2017
Game of Thrones is currently in production on its eighth and final season.