Almost four weeks ago, the ‘Game of Thrones’ season premiere was preempted by the leak of four unaired episodes from the fifth season.
The four episodes were leaked on torrent sites late Saturday evening, the following morning they had been downloaded more than 550,000 times. Then in the 24 hours between the leak and the season premiere on HBO the pirated episodes had been downloaded over 2 million times worldwide.
However, with the show now caught up with the pirated episodes, it appears that the series has actually thrived despite the leak. The season premiere of ‘Game of Thrones’ attracted 18.1 million viewers amongst adults 18-49 Live + 7 Day, with 8 million watching the initial telecast. In comparison to the show’s fourth season premiere, which on the night drew an estimated 6.6 million viewers, the show is up 1.4 million this season.
The pirated Game of Thrones episodes were reportedly traced back to a pre-air screener copy, which was sent out for members of the press to review, the episodes were leaked with their digital watermarks blurred out in 480p. Being one of most popular series worldwide ‘Game of Thrones’ has been easy prey to pirates, the show was declared the most-pirated TV show of 2014, according to Nielsen, with more than 48 million copies of episodes from the series uploaded to file-sharing and torrent sites.
While in the future worldwide demand for pirated HBO episodes is set to remain the same, with little options for overseas fans to view the show when it premieres in the US, the demand should at least decline domestically with the announcement of HBO Now. Time Warner recently launched its online $15 a month streaming service HBO Now, the service doesn’t require a HBO pay-TV subscription placing HBO in the same distribution stratosphere as Netflix — in the US at least.
About the Author
Editor-in-Chief of Tastic Film Magazine James Rush.