Game of Thrones illegal downloads spike before new season
DetailsJoseph O'Halloran | 10 April 2015
In a stark reminder of how big an issue global piracy is, an Irdeto survey has revealed a 45% increase in illegal downloads of Game of Thrones in the final weeks before the launch of season five of the series.
IrdetoGOTpiracyThe data showed an average of 116,000 illegal downloads per day of Game of Thrones episodes, which is an increase of 36,000 more downloads per day compared with 2014. In all, episodes of seasons one to four were illegally downloaded more than seven million times between 5 February and 6 April 2015, with the same period in 2014 witnessing 4.9 million downloads. Irdeto found that previous episodes of the series were pirated almost 37,000 times during the first week of April in the US in 2015, prior to the 7 April launch of HBO Now, available in the US on Apple devices and PC/Mac browsers.
But the historical drama wasn't the sole target for pirates. In the 5 February to 6 April window, The Walking Dead had over 5.7 million downloads, followed by Breaking Bad (3.8 million), Vikings (3.4 million) and House of Cards (2.7 million).
"It's often said that piracy is good marketing, but as piracy continues to skyrocket, the mind-set is shifting toward offering a compelling legal alternative like HBO Now to start converting pirates into paying customers," said Rory O'Connor, vice president, services, Irdeto. "Piracy is a tidal wave that cannot be controlled, only managed. There is a culture of 'free' where many people believe that it is acceptable to pirate these TV shows if they don't have access to them through legal means ... If we want to continue to have great TV shows like Game of Thrones, business models need to be protected. That's why we are passionate about this mission and are investing in technologies and services to help content and rights holders monitor and fight piracy across all distribution formats and release windows."
Offering a solution to the problem, O'Connor advised that the best way to combat piracy was a combination of monitoring downloads, taking down illegal streams and providing compelling and legal alternatives to piracy. "HBO Now represents a distribution model in line with how consumer consumption patterns are changing. HBO Now is adapting to changes in how content is consumed," he noted.