In what shouldn't really come as a surprise, HBO's hit drama Game of Throneshas been recognized as the most pirated TV show of 2015, beating out hits likeThe Walking Dead and The Big Bang Theory. This marks the fourth year in a row that the show has been recognized for the feat by TorrentFreak, not to mention setting new worldwide piracy records earlier this year. According toTorrentFreak's data, Game of Thrones' season 5 finale was torrented roughly 14.4 million times.
In a distant second place was The Walking Dead with 6.9 million downloads, while The Big Bang Theory saw a mere 4.4 million. TorrentFreak's data also indicates that twice as many people torrented the Game of Thrones' finale than watched on TV when it was broadcast in the US. This comes after the first four episodes of the season were leaked online just before the premiere back in April.
However, even TorrentFreak acknowledges that some viewership numbers can't be tracked, including legal options such as HBO Go, the network's own streaming service, as well as the recently launched HBO Now, which allows those without cable subscriptions to pay and watch their programs.
HBO has long recognized Game of Thrones' popularity among torrent sites, and taken big steps to try to fight pirates. Starting this year, the network eliminated many of the geographic hurdles for fans around the world, with each episode airing on the same day in over 170 countries. It's likely that HBO isn't pleased over these continued high piracy numbers surrounding its biggest show, but it's anyone's guess what tactics they'll use to reduce illegal downloads next year.