Global piracy figures for Game of Thrones in the final weeks leading up to the season premiere on April 12 surged by 45% year-on-year, according to Irdeto.
Research findings show that the number of downloads of episodes of Game of Thrones (seasons 1-4) surpassed seven million between February 5 and April 6. The same period saw 4.9 million downloads in 2014.
“As piracy continues to skyrocket, the mindset is shifting toward offering a compelling legal alternative like HBO Now to start converting pirates into paying customers,” said Rory O’Connor, VP of services at Irdeto.
“Our piracy data indicates Game of Thrones continues to be wildly popular in countries like Brazil and France, where a service like HBO Now could be a good way to recapture some revenue,” said O’Connor.
Despite the popularity of The Walking Dead and new shows like Vikings, Game of Thrones is still the most pirated show worldwide.
In the comparative timeframe, The Walking Dead episodes were downloaded illegally at over 5.7 million times, followed by Breaking Bad (3.8 million), Vikings (3.4 million) and House of Cards (2.7 million).
O’Connor said new season premieres definitely increase piracy activity, both of old episodes and the new season.
“Piracy is a tidal wave that cannot be controlled, only managed,” O’Connor said. “There is a culture of ‘free’ where many people believe that it is acceptable to pirate these TV shows if they don’t have access to them through legal means.”