Game of Thrones is a juggernaut and some will stop at nothing to get their fix of the hit HBO series. One of the lengths that many are willing to go through is to stream the show illegally through terrible quality just to see exactly what Jon Snow and Daenerys are up to. And as it turns out, "many" is a huge understatement, as a new report reveals that over 1 billion people illegally pirated Season 7, with most streaming it in vastly inferior quality rather than downloading through a torrent or direct download.
Just as the Game of Thrones Season 7 destroyed all of its previous official ratings, the same can be said for the illegal pirating of the show. TorrentFreak via MUSO reports that the show was pirated over 1 billion times, or roughly 140 million times per episode, dwarfing the official numbers of around 32 million on average per episode. MUSO is a global technology company that provides anti-piracy statistics for companies within the music and entertainment world to track piracy numbers and what they found out about Game of Thrones is staggering.
Apparently, MUSO began tracking Game of Thrones at the start of Season 7 and concludes that as of September 3rd, 2017, the hit show had surpassed the 1 billion-mark in illegal views. MUSO says that the majority of the pirating comes from people streaming the show through third-party apps or sites at 84.7% of the total number of piracy. Next up is the torrent downloads, which is at 9.1% followed by direct downloads at 5.6% and private torrents at 0.6%. The torrent downloads have gone down over the years as it's gotten easier for law enforcement to track, leading many to desperate measures of streaming the show. MUSO CEO, Andy Chatterley released a statement regarding the immense pirating of Game of Thrones. He had this to say.
"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. In addition to the scale of piracy when it comes to popular shows, these numbers demonstrate that unlicensed streaming can be a far more significant type of piracy than torrent downloads."
Much like the official ratings numbers, they got higher as the season went along. The Game of Thrones Season 7 premiere was pirated 90 million times while the last episode was pirated 120 million times. MUSO's information also shows off a different trend that happened after the finale and that is that episode 6 is tracking higher than the finale as of this writing. MUSO is suggesting that the higher number is due to the fact that the episode was accidentally leaked by HBO themselves a solid week before the episode was to originally air.
All of those numbers are expected to get dwarfed again with the upcoming release of the 8th and final season of Game of Thrones. There is no official release date set, but production is reported to start next month and the hype surrounding the show is obviously at an all-time high. The only factor that could lead to less ratings is the fact that there are only 6 episodes of the 8th season, but regardless, Game of Thrones is going to be watched illegally far more times than it will have through traditional, legal channels.