The download number exceeds the number of viewers watching the third season finale on television.
The season finale of "Game of Thrones" is officially the most-pirated television show by episode for the second year in a row. The third season finale in June was downloaded 5.9 million times, mostly within the first week after the episode aired on HBO.
TorrentFreak counted the figures based on files downloaded via BitTorrent's file-sharing protocol, excluding illegal sharing on cyberlocker and streaming sites. Ironically, "Game of Thrones" season 3 finale was watched by only 5.4 million viewers on television. Back in 2012, the second season finale was downloaded 4.2 million times.
Meanwhile, AMC's "Breaking Bad" came second in the list after being downloaded 4.2 million times in its series finale. The episode had an average of 10.28 million viewers on television per episode. "The Walking Dead" came third with 3.6 million downloads.
Although some TV execs believe piracy has its benefits for the TV show's brand, "The Walking Dead" executive producer Gale Anne Hurd did not think so. "There's a mistaken belief by many of my peers that piracy is somehow good, that viewers will develop a habit to pay for it," Hurd said earlier this month at Variety's Content Protection Summit. "I'm not sure they really understand other than anecdotal evidence that their ratings go up that the people who pirate are not then going to choose legal downloads or legal viewing in the future."
2013′s most pirated shows by most-downloaded individual episode:
- "Game of Thrones" (5.9 million)
- "Breaking Bad" (4.2 million)
- "The Walking Dead" (3.6 million)
- "The Big Bang Theory" (3.4 million)
- "Dexter" (3.1 million)
- "How I Met Your Mother" (3 million)
- "Suits" (2.6 million)
- "Homeland" (2.4 million)
- "Vikings" (2.3 million)
- "Arrow" (2.2 million)