It took a week, but Game of Thrones has managed to break more piracy records
Image/Photo Credit: HBO
The pre-release leak of the first four Game of Thrones episodes may have split downloaders' attentions, and prevented the season premier from "winning" any day-one piracy records, it hasn't taken long for the hit HBO show to break new piracy records.
Media intelligence firm Tru Optik collated publicly available torrent swarm data and found that the season premier, plus the pre-release leaked episodes (as well as the "A Day in the Life" documentary on the show) managed to account for 32 million downloads during the first week of release, breaking new ground in terms of piracy.
While the leaked episodes grabbed the most attention when it came to downloaders, those that had waited to download after the show aired predominantly went for the 720p or 1080p versions of the episode. This is easily explained by the fact that those willing to wait would have mostly done so in order to download higher quality versions of the episode, as opposed to the leaked episodes, which were sourced from standard definition DVD screeners.
43.5 percent of post-broadcast downloads were for the 720p version, with 31.4% opting for the even higher resolution 1080p version, compared to 35.1% for the SD 480p version.
On a per capita basis, Australia was once again top of the piracy chart. Of all the viewers that watched the season premier, on legal and illegal channels, 32 percent were pirates. This compares to only 8% in the United States.
With that said, most of the downloaders did come from the US, despite the availability of HBO's unbundled streaming service HBO Now. While that appears to be disappointing from HBO's point of view, the fact that the season premier's ratings were the highest on record for the show, indicates that paying customers are also increasing in numbers too.
And Tru Optik also believes that US pirates are the core demographic that HBO Now will try to win over, and will do so given time, giving HBO a glimmer of hope in their battle against piracy.