HBO show Game of Thrones – already touted the most pirated TV show ever – has seen its illegal downloads accelerate in the final days before its airing on Sky Atlantic, despite HBO’s best efforts to crack down on it.
The show, which airs in the US tonight and the UK tomorrow (13 April) at 9pm on Sky Atlantic, was illegally downloaded more than seven million times over two days - 5 and 6 April – up 45 per cent year on year, according to anti-piracy research firm Iredeto.
This is a vast increase on the same period in 2014, which saw 4.9 million downloads. The 2015 data has revealed an average 116,000 daily illegal downloads of Game of Thrones episodes – up by 36,000 downloads per day compared to 2014, according to the firm.
This comes despite HBO’s best efforts to ward off piracy of the show, which was already deemed the most pirated ever last year.
Last month the network revealed a total 170 nations would receive the forthcoming season 5 of Game of Thrones in a content distribution first for the network aimed at reducing piracy.
This would also see the show simulcast to HBO networks and partners globally.
The news followed a few months after HBO revealed plans to launch a subscription –based streaming service as an alternative to costly cable packages which could be leading to increased levels of piracy.
The next most pirated show was the Walking Dead at 5.7 million downloads over the same two days o 5 and 6 April, with Brazil, Spain and France the top country perpetrators. Breaking Bad was third most downloaded over the same two days at 3.8 million downloads, while Vikings was next at 3.4 million and House of Cards at 2.7 million.
On Friday HBO launched a dragon hunt across social media to build up buzz and interest ahead of the show's airing.