Digital Pirates Converge on ‘GoT’ Premiere

Sunday’s season six premiere of HBO’s Game of Thrones was popular with digital pirates, according to the latest findings from TorrentFreak.

TorrentFreak, a news site focused on file-sharing and privacy and copyright issues, said the premiere episode drew more 1 million downloads in half a day, with about 200,000 BitTorrent users actively sharing copies of the episode at last check.

According to those findings, pirates are improving their taste for purloined video. have shifted their focus from standard definition (480p) video to high-definition formats, including 780p and 1080p.

“A few years ago roughly 10% downloaded HD copies, which are larger in size, but today this is getting close to 50%,” the site noted in a blog post, noting that the episode drew heaviest interest from pirates in Australia (12.5%), India (9.7%), United States (8.5%) and the United Kingdom (6.9%).

Though the season six premiere was popular among that group, it was not the most-pirated TV show – that dubious distinction still belongs to the season five finale of GoT, which saw 1.5 million downloads in a span of eight hours, according to  TorrentFreak.

TorrentFreak also points out that its figures account only for BitTorrent downloads, adding that “it’s possible that other pirate sources such as streaming and direct download sites did see an increase and that HBO’s free preview to non-subs might have also had an effect on reducing piracy.

On the legitimate side of the digital video ledger, T-Mobile said it saw traffic to HBO Go and HBO Now double. Both apps also happen to support Binge On, T-Mobile’s optional mobile streaming platform that delivers video in 480p and zero-rates the traffic coming in via its partner apps/services.