‘Game of Thrones’ Tops Most Pirated TV Shows List for 2012

Published 2 years ago by

Game of Thrones game of thr Game of Thrones Tops Most Pirated TV Shows List for 2012

Like it or not, illegal downloading and pirating of movies and TV shows is the way of the world. It seems like the practice is becoming more prevalent each year and yet many shows continue to smash viewership records each season.

Despite the piracy, several of the shows that landed on Torrent Freak’s top 10 list for 2012, including Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, are still enjoying their most watched seasons. The most popular tend to be the most pirated, and yet ratings for many of these shows are on the rise.

Such is the case with Game of Thrones, which took the throne as the number one pirated show of the year, knocking Dexter off its perch atop the list from last year to the number two slot. The Big Bang Theory stayed put in third position, while How I Met Your Mother climbed the ranks to number four. The J.J. Abrams produced NBC drama Revolution was the only new show to crack the top ten, sliding in at 10th place.

Although ratings have still been strong, the number of illegal downloads is a bit alarming. Episodes of Game of Thrones, Dexter and Homeland were downloaded more than they were watched on the air. Check out the numbers for yourself on Torrent Freak’s list below:

The Top 10 Pirated TV Shows Game of Thrones Tops Most Pirated TV Shows List for 2012

New episodes of popular American shows are the most frequently torrented, as they’re released later in many countries, tempting consumers to download rather than wait. For example, in Australia – where Game of Thrones is very popular – the show is released a week later and, as a result, the Land Down Under is the number one downloader of Game of Thrones, accounting for more than 10% of the global total. In fact, more than 80% of TV show piracy occurs outside the United States, according to TorrentFreak.

The lack of available legal downloads is another reason many turn to piracy, and since many premium cable networks like HBO don’t allow streaming  of their programs without a subscription, viewers are choosing to forgo the whole “payment thing” and simply download the content for free. Obviously, the networks will have to devise a way for consumers to get what they want without sacrificing their own bottom line to put an end to, or at least limit, illegal downloads and piracy.


Source: Torrent Freak

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  1. I didn’t know people were still watching Revolution.

  2. I didn’t see the point in this article. It didn’t really say anything relatively new or surprising.

    • @Bill – I didn’t really see the point of your comment for the exact same reasons.

      • Bazinga!

  3. I downloaded every episode the day after it aired. In my situation, i lived without a tv (and a lot of times without internet) let alone cable for HBO. I support the show and a lot of times just spreading the word is the most i can do. I turned a lot of people on the the show. I know the show needs the money that pirating hits at, but right now the show is raking in enough that it doesnt have to worry about that. He has to worry about keeping its artistic integrity, and keeping the fanbase steady and growing, despite how they watch it. They are making plenty of money on books and merchandise (i do own the first season DVDs). Remember the most pirated movie of the year was The Avengers and the most pirated movie of all time is AVATAR. the industry needs to re-examine who piracy impacts revenue and what they should do about it, instead of fighting a hopeless war against it.

    • also i wanna point out that most times i would have to wait an extra day for Game of Thrones as the website would crash from the amount of traffic it generates. Thats impressive

    • same here i dont have cable or anything so the only way i can watch them is to download pretty much

  4. Pointless article.

  5. Hmmm. I wish there was a way to pirate those little clips that you guys put on. I get so excited, click on the piece and all I see are words and a empty box :( ohhh whyyyy (dummy hits the floor)

  6. As someone who lives in Australia, if you wanna keep up with the online discussions, you have to download illegally. It may not sound like a good reason, but for someone like me, it is. Shows are appearing on iTunes and other sites a lot quicker than they used to, so for shows like The Walking Dead, which is available 36 hours after the US, I don’t need to. If they want to cut back in the illegal downloads of a country like Aus, allow us access to the American iTunes site, or have us receive shows at the same time on our countries digital download services. It would definately put a lot more money in the studios pockets.

    • dito germany. i can download or wait 1-2 years for a local release. its to long.

      • as another german, i have to agree.

        we can’t even PAY to see it, since hulu and netflix and stuff like this just isn’t “available” in our country, because they are jerks.

        i heard you can’t even pay for it in the states, how dumb is that:

        • It’s still not a good reason, avatar.

  7. As long as there are countries where netflix is not even available (or only has like a 12 shows and nothing more), there will be TV torrenting.

    Some countries never air certain TV shows or don’t buy only a few seasons. If US networks are so concerned about torrent, they have to make their shows available worldwide, not just releasing a DVD a year later. Which is funny, because in some countries not even the whole season DVDs are available, and ordering from the US is just a pain in the rear.

    There are shows you have literally no possible way to access besides torrent sites. Nothing new about this. It is still annoying.

    If only they would think about the international adudience, but no… only US viewers count.

  8. Same here from China !
    Mostly no HBO Shows,BBC or what so ever !
    To get your fix on those shows,Doctor Who,Downton Abbey or anything watchable all you can do is download it !

    Most sites here that are similar to youtube,(youtube is forbiden in china)bring it out as well as quick as possible. It’s free and very popular ! Shows like Touch or Spartacus have over 30 Millions viewers in a couple of days !

    You can check out youku or todou ,they always stream the shows afterwards! No deal is made with American networks for this as well. So legal sites here in china,show illegal content ! Kinda funny !

    • Lol thats awesome

  9. If you can get a prepaid credit card from the US you can switch your iTunes to the US version

  10. pirates could actually kill television. and that’s a good thing. too expensive, to hell with the greedy beggars.

    wonder what the dvd box set sales were?

  11. It goes the other way around, too, as far as foreign properties are concerned. My cable connection was crappy at best and what channel always goes out first, BBC America. So, I have to find other ways to watch Doctor Who. Not only that, but there was no way I was waiting 6 months for the new ABFABS last year. So, I ‘acquired’ them, and still watched them on BBCA, only to find out that they edit some scenes for time constraints. But the same episode on Logo, the same night, was intact. So, there is another consideration. Editing. And forget cable on demand. You can’t fast forward the commercials any more.

  12. Yeah…best of luck with that.

    They must be new to the whole internet thing…lol

  13. Pirating = theft. Make sites accessible and charge access. And perhaps countries need to revisit their laws governing media. And I never understood the country code restrictions/ designations for DVD movies, either.

  14. 4,280,000 people too many downloading terrible TV.

  15. Blockbuster, Hollywood video, Netflix, Hulu, heck the local libraries, are all forms of file sharing. It was challenged in 1984 because Sony wanted to distribute for betamax, and I guess Universal got all butt hurt about it.

    The Supreme court never really made a final decision on it. Since they did rule that p2p and file sharing is not illegal. However they never addressed bit torrents.

    But I’m going to tell you this. My friend is an attorney and he said, it’s a grey area that will see some success and a ton of heart ache. Some people have ended up in prison just for downloading. Nobody challenges it, yet millions of people across the U.S, are using bit torrent, and the sites to download movies, videogames, tv shows, so…….. I don’t know.

    What I’ve seen around the college campus is that torrenting usually leads to the kids buying the DVD, or the game at Walmart, because they liked it. The school gave up cracking down on torrents because EVERYONE is doing it, even in class. College life is basically facebook, homework, and sleeping.

    • 1984 they ruled in favor of SONY, but the rest I’m talking about post 2005 to clarify the confusion.

  16. Im in South Africa and have the same problem. We have to wait up to 6 months for some shows so again a lot of us download.

    Bottom line, they need to end this nonsense of regions or countries having to wait for content.
    With the internet we already have a single world network. TV and Movie studios need to catch a wake up and ensure they make their shows available to everyone at the same time or piracy will continue.

    • All you guys from other countries are complaining way to much. Its not our fault that you guys cant come up with any interesting t.v. shows or movies of your own. You don’t hear us complaining that we cant watch any of your shows or movies. Why shouldn’t the U.S. put these restrictions on?

  17. Ultraviolet

  18. yo ho ho. me hearties yo ho lol

  19. If the channels/studios could come up w a way of charging worldwide for downloads , that doesn’t take advantage of any particular currency/country, then the revenue they could generate would be enormous. They would then have a better handle on what people are actually watching, & possibly give shows a longer shelf life w a bigger budget. It would also, maybe, help create a more solid market base. Hell, I don’t know. Just thinking out loud.

  20. If OnDemand would allow folks to get caught up on a show if they missed an episode it’d be helpful too. If you miss an episode lately, OnDemand won’t have the previous episode posted until AFTER the current episode has aired, so you’ll always be one episode behind with that type of practice. I don’t blame people for downloading if networks can’t figure it out.

  21. “Pointless article”? You all must have pretty pointless lives to not find this interesting :P

  22. I am naive to the pirating situation and the fool that is paying for every show / movie. Looking at these kinds of numbers how can HBO, etc not stop this? There has to be a few places that are getting traffic by the thousands so why not stop them. Also – where do you even go to watch pirated movies or TV shows? Not that I’m looking for links or anything I just don’t understand how this even works?

  23. how could The Big Bang Theory get more views than GOT :/
    and i hope they do an online streaming and charge 2-5$/episode
    in my country we dont have HBO , so i have to pirate but i own the DVD’s
    for the first and second season just to support the show :)