With the end of the year just a few days away, fans have been inundated with top 10 lists breaking down the picks from critics across the country for their top movies, TV shows, albums and more. There is one top 10 list that no TV show wants to be on, though, TorrentFreak's most pirated TV shows of the year. And for the past four years, HBO's smash hit Game of Thrones has topped this list. The hit fantasy series was already named the top trending TV show for 2016, and today we have word that it has retained its title as the most pirated TV show for the fifth year in a row.
This report comes from Torrent Freak, a website which also debunked another recent story about the Amazon Studios show The Grand Tour. A report surfaced a few weeks ago that The Grand Tour, which reunites Top Gear hosts James May, Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond, was the "most-pirated show of all time", with the series premiere reportedly being pirated 7.9 million times. TorrentFreak reported last year that the Season 5 finale of Game of Thrones was pirated 14.4 million times, nearly double the 7.9 million purported tally for The Grand Tour, which doesn't even seem to be accurate. The site reached out to MUSO, the piracy monitoring firm that claimed The Grand Tour was the most pirated show in history, and they clarified that The Grand Tour is simply the most pirated UK-based series.
The site also reports that at its highest, there were roughly 350,000 people sharing an episode of Game of Thrones through various torrent sites, a peak which was attained just after the Game of Thrones Season 6 finale debuted online. The site also reveals that this year did not yield any record numbers as far as internet traffic was concerned, but they speculated that many users switched to streaming sites this year, which likely impacted the numbers. As for The Grand Tour, it did crack the top 10 for the most pirated shows, but just barely.
AMC's hit zombie series The Walking Dead retained the #2 spot on this year's most-pirated list, with HBO's new series Westworld debuting in the #3 spot. A new series ranking this high on the list is said to be "quite an achievement," which speaks volumes about the sudden popularity of the series. The CW's The Flash and Arrow round out the top 5 in fourth and fifth places, respectively, swapping places from last year's list. The Big Bang Theory dropped from third place last year to sixth place this year, followed by Vikings staying put in seventh place, Lucifer debuting in eighth place, Suits jumping from 10th place last year to ninth place this year, and The Grand Tour debuting in the 10-spot.
It's worth noting that this "victory" for Game of Thrones comes in a year where they made a big change to combat piracy. For the first time in the show's history, HBO refused to send out advanced screeners to members of the press for Season 6, after the first four episodes of Game of Thrones Season 5 leaked just one day before the season premiere. This season, one of the show's biggest twists, the resurrection of Kit Harington's Jon Snow, was revealed in the second episode, which is likely another reason that these screeners weren't sent out.