Narrative inconsistencies notwithstanding, Game of Thrones season 7 was a colossal success.
The penultimate chapter in HBO’s Song of Ice and Fire delivered on all fronts, resulting in one of the most arresting, ground-breaking instalments of Thrones to date. From the revelation that Jon Snow is, in fact, Aegon Targaryen (the true-born son of Lyanna Stark and Rhaegar Targaryen, no less) to the Night King laying siege to Eastwatch, season 7 gripped viewers from start to finish, so it’s little wonder why the finale, aptly titled “The Dragon and the Wolf,” set a new record as the show’s most-watched episode yet.
16.5 million viewers is an impressive feat, but according to data published by analytics company MUSO (via Torrent Freak), season 7’s total audience figures would’ve climbed higher still were it not for piracy. When accounting for streaming, torrents and direct downloads, it’s believed Thrones‘ penultimate season was pirated over a billion times. One billion.
Here’s a representation of how those figures fell into place:
As one of, if not the biggest shows on television, Game of Thrones has always been prone to mass piracy. That being said, throughout the course of season 7 things went from bad to worse for HBO, after the network inadvertently leaked episode 4, “The Spoils of War,” days before its initial broadcast. Couple this with the intrusive hack and it’s been a year to forget for the American outfit.
In light of this report, MUSO CEO and co-founder Andy Chatterley stated:
It’s no secret that HBO has been plagued by security breaches throughout the latest season, which has seen some episodes leak before broadcast and added to unlicensed activity. In addition to the scale of piracy when it comes to popular shows, these numbers demonstrate that unlicensed streaming can be a far more significant type of piracy than torrent downloads.
Now that viewers have borne witness to “The Dragon and the Wolf” and all of its major story revelations, Game of Thrones has been placed on ice in anticipation of season 8. That last hurrah has seemingly been earmarked for a premiere in 2019, with filming expected to get underway this October.
Source: Torrent Freak