There's no denying it: lots of people like Game of Thrones, and a good portion of those fans have no problem illegally downloading the show to enjoy it. For the third year in a row, the HBO series is the most torrented TV show of the year, according to TorrentFreak's analysis. The site monitors data available on large public trackers like The Pirate Bay, as well as additional info, to estimate how many times a particular file has been downloaded.
The analysis is far from a precise science, but the site has concluded that Game of Thrones episodes were downloaded 8.1 million times from peer-to-peer file sharing sites. That far surpasses the other shows in the top five, The Walking Dead, Big Bang Theory, How I Met Your Mother, and Gotham, all of which have fewer than 5 million downloads each.
The people who like Game of Thrones also like to torrent
It will be interesting to see what happens to these numbers come next year. HBO's highly anticipated over-the-top streaming service is expected to launch day-and-date with the Game of Thrones season five premiere in April. Some justify torrenting by saying it's one of the only ways to watch the show as soon as new episodes premiere without paying for a costly cable subscription. With HBO's upcoming streaming service, there will be an alternative to stream the show immediately after its premiere in high quality — but, of course, it can't beat the cost of torrenting. We'll just have to wait and see.