Turns out the only way you can beat Game of Thrones consistent record as the most pirated piece of TV around is... to hope for a year where it doesn’t air at all. At least that won’t be a problem after this year!
Torrentfreak’s annual roundup of the shows pirated the most over the course of the year has seen the end of HBO’s six-year-long “winning streak” in 2018, with The Walking Dead—perennial runner up in prior years—taking the top spot this year. The list, using information based on BitTorrent downloads, only captures a fraction of the wider piracy landscape in an era when users looking for access to hit shows gets into streaming sites rather than purely downloaded episodes. But still, it paints an intriguing picture of what shows were the most sought-after. Here’s the full top 10:
1) The Walking Dead
2) The Flash
3) The Big Bang Theory
9) Legends of Tomorrow
DC Universe’s Titans is an interesting addition to 2018's, although perhaps a not-too surprising one. The show is currently only available on DC Universe, a service that is only accessible in the U.S. so far—so its fifth-place debut could possibly be down to the fact international audiences, who are still waiting for the show to begin airing officially on Netflix, trying to see what all the Batman-murder-fuss is about.
But otherwise, the list is filled with some genre regulars, from DC/CW TV shows like The Flash, Arrow, and Legends of Tomorrow filling out much of the rest of the slot. Interestingly, even in a year without new episodes, Game of Thrones was still hotly in demand according to TorrentFreak—just on downloads of bundled seasons of past episodes alone, Thrones could’ve still potentially topped the chart if it was allowed to factor in those old episodes. Which, really, represents a massive headache for HBO going into the series’ final season. The network has made big strides in trying to crack down on leaks and piracy of the show in prior years—and still does, in order to funnel people towards buying home releases or re-watching officially through its own catch up services.
Like we said, this represents only a fragment of the piracy going on. But with anticipation for the show reaching its peak as the last season draws closer and closer, HBO’s going to want to keep doing the increasingly crazy things it does to stop anything from getting out illicitly. And not even that will likely stop Thrones from taking its pirate crown back for 2019's eventual list.