Per the folks at TorrentFreak, who not only know about BitTorrent but can be a bit freaky about it, a single episode of Game of Thrones was downloaded nearly 4.3 million times. That is actually 100,000 more people than watched that episode on TV in the U.S.
In fact, both Game of Thrones and second-ranked show Dexter had more worldwide downloads than U.S. viewers. And neither of these shows has the viewing audiences of other shows on the list like Big Bang Theory or How I Met Your Mother. So why all the downloading?
TorrentFreak points out that 80% of pirated TV shows are downloaded outside the borders of the U.S., where people frequently need to wait a week (and often longer) to see regional re-airings of these shows.
“Game of Thrones is particularly popular in Australia, where people have to wait a week longer than fans in the U.S. to view the show,” writes TorrentFreak. “Nevertheless, even in the U.S. hundreds and thousands are downloading the show for free, although many would love to pay for it if HBO offered a standalone HBO GO subscription.”
Last summer, we explained that while there might be a growing, vocal number of people clamoring for a standalone HBO Go service that doesn’t require them to pay for a cable package, HBO — and more precisely, HBO’s parent company Time Warner — has too much to lose by going that route at this point in time.