Game of Thrones enters Guinness World Records 2015 book

guinness_logoGame of Thrones now has another accolade to add to its collection. The show has officially been entered into the Guinness World Records 2015 book as the most pirated TV program.

Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes once said that “[piracy] leads to more paying subs… Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world. That’s better than an Emmy.” Since we’re celebrating the piracy of Thrones, we have some recent statistics that are relevant.

The following numbers are truly staggering, giving a clearer numerical insight into the legions of fans the show has built over the years. All statistics in this post are taken from Tru Optik.

tv-shows-shared-q2-tru-optikThis image shows the number of downloads of the most-pirated shows in Q2 2014 (April, May and June). This is especially significant for Game of Thrones, as these were the only three months in which it aired this year. As we can see, Thrones was pirated almost five times more than its closest competitor, The Big Bang Theory.

Tru Optik provides a chart on the fourth season’s premiere episode, breaking the numbers down further. It shows just how much potential revenue piracy is costing HBO. All numbers are representative of the first 72 hours since the episode aired.

unmonetized demand

From a demographic perspective, the top ten countries that engaged in this piracy were the United States, Australia, Brazil, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, Sweden, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, and Greece. The US itself comprised 12.302% of the downloads. Furthermore, for 21.014% of the pirates, this was their first time torrenting anything.

Finally, we can see what other shows were popular with the Game of Thrones pirates at the time.

tv shows

It is important to note that all of these statistics (except those in the first image) are in relation to just one episode. A lot more information can be seen on the full chart at Tru Optik.

Cian: Thanks to The Wolves of Winter for tipping us off to the Tru Optik stats a while back.


  1. TaviColen123,

    Unfortunately, to get HBO in America, you almost always need to have a basic cable plan first. They’re changing this slightly where you can get HBOGO alongside some internet providers for an extra $10-15 a month, but that’s not fully implemented yet. Additionally, there are many who watch the show, particularly students, who don’t have their own internet service.

    If HBOGO went to a Netflix-style subscription service, you can bet there’d be plenty willing to pay $10-15 a month for 3 months to see this show. Hell, they could probably even just sell a series pass and only unblock access to GoT content for something like $25/season and I think people would pay.

    Arrested Development S4 was very low in terms of piracy, because $7.99/month was a reasonable price people were willing to pay for Netflix. However, until HBO service is decoupled from internet/cable plans, piracy will remain an issue.

  2. I admit that I usually rather watch streams of the episodes than waiting a few weeks and watching them via a friend’s SkyAtlantic subscription.

    This may not be illegal here in Germany (it depends who is asked) but I feel kinda guilty for it and I buy merchandise and the DVDs to support the show (and to feel better).

  3. During the second season I was in medical school in the Caribbean. I had no choice but to pirate thrones.

    And just for shits I would go out on a sailboat with a bottle of rum to watch the episode.

  4. These stats are impressive. Thanks, Cian.


    Your points are well-taken.

    Also, in case it isn’t already posted by the time I hit send, HODOR!

  5. Nice job Cian, but is Hear Marko Roar jealous that there was a post about numbers and he didn’t get to write it? 😛

  6. TaviColen123,

    Chebyshov is correct. Cable/Internet companies have regional monopolies in the U.S. and they can do whatever they like at whatever price they like, which puts the cost of having them increasingly out of reach for the average person. I have few options. To get HBO I have to have basic cable. There are only two providers in my area. The one forces you to buy and have them install a satellite (which you can’t always do when renting a place like I do). The other has the worst customer service I’ve ever had the displeasure to encounter. Both of these companies either provide Internet or they partner with someone who does. The first company’s Internet service in my neighborhood is so slow it beggars belief–might as well not have an Internet connection. The second one has decent speeds but want WAY to much money for the speeds I need. And I HAVE to have an Internet connection at home for my job. If I were to try to buy all these services separately I would actually end up paying more. So I’m forced to bundle it through a company that I hate with the white hot passion of 10,000 suns. In all I pay over $150 per month. That’s a lot of money to many Americans. If I didn’t have a decent job, I’d be pirating it too. Sad to say, but true.

  7. TaviColen123,

    Man, that is a pretty unfair generalization. I personally pay upwards of $150/month for a cable/internet/phone package so that I can watch HBO/GoT. $15/month for 2 months? Who’s cheap? Asshole.

  8. You’re welcome Cian. Glad to do it.
    The numbers are amazing.

    I only downloaded the first 2 seasons until HBO became available in my country. Now I can watch it legally.
    Als strange to see Orange is the New Black on the list.

  9. Yeah I borrow my parents’ HBO Go login, because HBO is practically the only thing I watch besides Netflix and there’s no way I’m going to spend an extra $100 a month for a cable package just so I can watch HBO.

  10. A Man Grown:
    Nice job Cian, but is Hear Marko Roar jealous that there was a post about numbers and he didn’t get to write it? :P

    Let’s just say that if this is the last you hear of me, you can probably guess what happened…

  11. TaviColen123,

    Quote ” I love how cheap americans are that they can’t bother…” Unquote.

    Australia, Brazil, Canada, the United Kingdom, India, Sweden, the Netherlands, the Republic of Korea, and Greece also made the top 10. No love for them?

  12. I don’t live in the US and I downloaded all the episodes since season 1, otherwise I’d have to wait 2 days to see them in my country (in previous years it was 1 week of difference).
    I have cable I just don’t like to wait and be spoiled.

  13. I don’t live in the US and HBO does air GoT the same day as in the US and I pay for it, but I still download the episodes just so I can rewatch them anytime I want while I wait for the blurays to be released.

  14. In UK and Australia GOT is shown on channels that are ridiculous expensive and also you have to wait more than in US to watch the episodes ,in UK in particular is a special case since besides BBC,ITV and Channel Four ocasionally all the other channels might as well not exist, i don’t know about the other countries but i assume it’s the same case and i think you should cut the poor greeks some slack since their country is on the brink of bankruptcy for years now,but like i said the international fans at least have some excuse behind it .

  15. TaviColen123,

    Regardless of the US economic situation, sampling from this unlimited virtual resource is a universal gift. Do you sample software programs for a trial period instead of buying a license? Do you check out books from a virtual library that others have paid for? What do you think a group of 10 friends watching GoT at someone’s home is, with one paying customer among them? Believe me, “sampling” from the internet is part of the business model and HBO is not losing money as a result.

    I pay for my shit because I support and crave quality art but I don’t judge others for being creative with the Internet. However, I must warn those who use bitTorrent and other similar services. Once you download, you are an adopted server that services thousands of other downloaders. Rh’lorr help you if that service (or its supply) ever gets creatively hacked (or the government decides to snoop on you). 🙂

  16. Dick Whitman:
    I don’t live in the US and HBO does air GoT the same day as in the US and I pay for it, but I still download the episodes just so I can rewatch them anytime I want while I wait for the blurays to be released.

    I do the same. HBO Brasil even broadcasts GoT simultaneously with the US, which is great. But I like to rewatch without depending on the HBO schedule and HBO Go is not available for my provider yet.

  17. TaviColen123,

    I subscribe to HBO and watch each episode when it airs, then I re-watch on HBO GO while torrenting it about an hour or two later. Then I pre-order the Blu-ray as soon as it’s on Amazon. I like having all the formats. Am I too obsessed? 🙂

  18. I am in the exact same situation as Seriano, country(Brazil) and all. I just like to re-watch it on my own time. Plus I usually re-watch it with subtitles of other languages I’m learning, not an option I have on TV.

  19. Oh goodie!!! Canada is there too! Yay…LOL!

    I am not suprised about “TheWalking Dead” appearing on the list. At that time of the year I get (legally 🙂 )my diet of “Game Of Thrones” AND “The Walking Dead” and I’m a happy camper!

  20. I tried using “Now TV” live streaming here in the UK to watch the shows on Monday nights when broadcast but my broadband speed seems to drop noticeably in the evenings so there was a lot of buffering, also Sky Atlantic ruined episodes with badly timed ad breaks ( IIRC HBO in the US doesn’t put in ad breaks? Seems that way as the show doesn’t have “natural breaks” structure). So that made it a poor viewing experience although catch up the next day was better with the ads removed.

    Anyway as I already paid Sky for Now TV subscription I feel nobody loses out if I download torrents of the shows, and I will still buy the blu-ray box set when it comes out next year in any case. Watching a downloaded .mkv with no ads and decent HD quality was a lot more enjoyable anyway even on a laptop screen.

  21. I always download via torrent the episodes of GoT; watch it with my wife and erase the files. We do not have HBO and do not live in North America or Europe. But, in comparison, when the original blurays come out in Amazon, I buy them instantly. Perhaps Stannis should cut my fingers and make me Hand in the same time.

  22. Me too. at $130mo and up for cable that I won’t use except for GOT I have moved to the streaming/season pass model for shows I watch (HBO is not on board with that where I live). I pre order the season on Blue Ray as soon as it is released so in the end I do pay for it.

  23. All Hail the Wolf Girl,

    You are correct about no ad breaks on HBO in the US, it’s a “premium” channel that has an additional subscription fee (on top of the basic cable TV subscription), rather than being funded by advertising.

    Also, I agree that the .mkv files are the most convenient format. I don’t even have a Blu-ray player on my TV, just a small computer. I have a Blu-ray drive in my main PC, so the first thing I do when I get the Blu-rays is rip them to .mkv files and put them in a shared folder on my local network so the computer on my TV can play them.

    Even after I’ve got mkv Blu-ray rips, I still keep the downloaded ones to use on mobile devices since the files are much smaller, and 720p video is fine for a small screen.

  24. We pay a package rate with our company so we get the net, cable and phone for one price. Considering how much we are on the net, and how many long distant calls we make, it was a good deal, if a little higher then we want to pay. When GOT comes on, we can include HBO for a minimal amount a month. I feel for those who aren’t able to get it. I remember ages ago reading an article indicating that the introduction of Cable will create a technological divide between people who could afford pay tv and everyone else. That has come to pass, in spades.

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