Game of Thrones breaks BitTorrent records

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CNET Editor

Nic Healey can usually be found on a couch muttering about aspect ratios and 7.1 channel sound - which is helpful given that he's the home entertainment guy at CNET.

The TV series Game of Thrones has a bit of a reputation, and not just for its use of "sexposition" (lengthy scenes where complex plot points are explained in detail while nudity occurs to keep people interested).

(Credit: HBO)

No, the show is also the darling of the BitTorrent set, with TorrentFreak naming it the most torrented show of 2012. The new season that aired on 31 March in the US has shown that no one will be kicking GoT off that particular iron throne in the near future.

Within hours of airing, episode one of season three had smashed the previous swarm record (the total number of seeders and leechers), which had been held by the season three premiere of Heroes.

According to TorrentFreak, 163,088 people were sharing one single torrent of the Game of Thrones episode, just under 20,000 more than the Heroes record. By the next day, 1 April, conservative estimates of the number of seeded torrents suggested that the episode had been downloaded at least 1 million times.

Impressively, Australia accounted for a solid percentage of those downloads, coming in at number three on the list, just behind the US and the UK. When you look at the downloads by city, Sydney and Melbourne are numbers three and four, behind London and Paris.

Game of Thrones director David Petrarca has previously said that he didn't worry about the piracy of his show (a position he quickly reversed when the statement drew a lot of media attention). More recently, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told Entertainment Weekly something quite similar, even noting that piracy doesn't seem to affect sales figures on the DVDs.

I probably shouldn't be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts. [Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network. The demand is there and it certainly didn't negatively impact the DVD sales.

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Scott-BradleyP posted a comment   

Yet again Foxtel just doesn't get it. Old linear thinking. I bet very few people know that you can buy it on iTunes and get it at the same time. But Foxtel of course play the old game, not telling you, trying to make you subscribe to the movies package. I bet this Australian number would have been much lower had they marketed the iTunes availability in advance. The concept that a single show can force a consumer to pay over $80 a month for a pay tv service is outdated and clearly not aligned with the market.

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