Is Game of Thrones still the most pirated TV show?
With just a few episodes left to be aired, Game of Thrones season four is almost at an end and just looking at the US viewing figures alone, it has been the most successful for HBO yet.
It has also been the most successful for the stealyweb too, with the second episode setting a new record shortly after its American debut by hitting a massive 193,418 seeds at one point for just one file.
A seed is registered for each person currently sharing a file via BitTorrent, either while they themselves are downloading it or after it has been completed. That figure doesn't include people who have already downloaded the show and not sharing it again after.
It is estimated that roughly 1.5 million people downloaded that episode, in which King Joffrey and Margaery Tyrell were to be wed, in just one day. So is Game of Thrones just a freak show in Torrent terms, or are there other TV programmes that are as popular amongst the pirate network? And how about now? Is Game of Thrones still as popular on Torrent sites, or are people looking for more legal ways to watch it?
To find out, we looked at files listed on The Pirate Bay, still the most popular Torrent site in the world.
Game of Thrones
The day after the episode was aired in the UK, Game of Thrones season four episode seven hit almost 100,000 seeds for the standard definition copy, almost 50,000 for the 720p HD.
This doesn't even include the numerous duplicates also listed on the site or alternative TV rips.
We can safely say that, yes, the show is still enormously popular amongst the illegal downloading community, albeit slightly down on the more talked about episodes in its recent past. However, in terms of legitimate television viewing figures, it was the most viewed episode of Game of Thrones in the States since the show's beginning in 2011.
It received 7.2 million viewers in the US alone, over half a million more than the premiere episode of the season. It's also almost three and a half times more viewers than the very first episode of season one.
24: Live Another Day
A lot of hype and anticipation surrounded Jack Baeur's return to screens after a four year absence, so if anything could break Game of Thrones' dominance of the king of the Torrents it would be 24: Live Another Day.
Or so you would think. Instead, the most downloaded standard definition version of episode four stood at just under 9,500 seeds. The most popular 720p HD version was seeded (when we looked) just 2,867 times.
A Game of Thrones beater it is not then. Not by a long chalk.
Legitimate viewing figures for the episode were yet to be released at the time of writing, but the previous episode accrued 6.48 million viewers in the US.
As it nears its conclusion, with the seventh and final series almost half way through, you would think that Mad Men would be more popular than it is proving to be, both via BitTorrent and in TV viewing figures.
The most popular standard def version of episode six, at the time of looking, was being seeded around 5,500 times and the HD a little over 2,000.
TV viewing figures seem to reflect the lack of interest - in the US at least - with just 1.86 million watching the previous episode. Accurate viewing figures for episode seven are still yet to be revealed.
The second season of the small screen appearances of DC Comics' Green Arrow tells a similar story. The latest episode, episode 23, of the series was seeded almost 10,000 times for the most popular standard definition version, just over 2,000 times for the HD.
Its viewing figures were revealed to be 2.37 million.
So, in conclusion, none of the big event TV shows can match Game of Thrones when it comes to the pirate network, which will actually come as some comfort to their respective broadcasters.
In fact, the only TV show that came close in our admittedly quick straw poll was comedy The Big Bang Theory. The most popular standard definition version of its latest episode was seeded over 21,500 times. The HD version was seeded far less, at just under 3,000 times.
Game of Thrones therefore remains an internet phenomenon, especially on the shadier side of the tracks.