News Season 4

Game of Thrones sets new Torrent swarm record with “First of His Name”

Not only did Game of Thrones break it’s record for viewership numbers this week, it also broke the record for the largest Torrent swarm ever. Torrent Freak is reporting that “First of His Name” has taken the crown for the most users simultaneously sharing a single copy of a file.

A few hours after the first torrent of this week’s episode appeared online, the Demonii tracker reported that 207,054 people were sharing the episode, with 163,496 having the completed copy and 43,558 still downloading.

Those numbers are from only one tracker, as you can see from the breakdown provided by Torrent Freak below, several different copies were being shared by hundreds of thousands of people. It is estimated that over 1.5 million people downloaded the episode in the first day.

“First of His Name” broke the record set just a few weeks ago by the Purple Wedding episode, “The Lion and the Rose,” which maxed out at 193,418 people on a single tracker.

With the pirates’ interest in Game of Thrones only increasing, Torrent Freak expects the record may be broken again, and barring a miracle, Game of Thrones will be the most pirated show for the third year in a row.


  • As Ole Gurm would say … *sigh*

    (I’m going to have to do my duty by him, D&D and HBO and buy the S2 and S3 DVDs …)

  • Next up: Game of Thrones breaks record for most records broken in a record breaking season.

  • Well, I pay the full price for HBO but I don’t resent the torrent streamers at all. Full price is too much since the only thing I really watch on cable TV is HBO. Everything else I can get from Netflix for $8 a month. If I had the option to simply buy HBO or just access to HBO Go without having to pay for standard cable TV, I would. And I think thousands of illegal downloaders could and would pay a few bucks a month for access to HBO Go alone. Unfortunately as long as HBO continues to have an incestuous relationship with the regional cable company monopolies, people will keep stealing the shows. Paying over $100 a month for one frigging channel is nuts…its a luxury I allow myself. Most people don’t have that luxury.

    Oh, and let me rant about these cable companies a little. I moved a couple of weeks ago. In my old house I had a bundled package through CenturyLink (formerly Qwest) for DSL internet (60Mbps download) and DirectTV for HBO (and a thousand other useless stations). We didn’t actually get 60, but we sure as hell paid for it. And their service dropped all the time. At the new house the max download speed that CenturyLink could offer was 5Mbps–this is in a newer neighborhood, built after fiber optic was being installed automatically. Forget about the kids using their Xbox while you watch a movie via Netflix…that ain’t gonna happen….hell I couldn’t work from home using that kind of download speed! So we had to get rid of CenturyLink, which means we had to get rid of DirectTV–remember it’s a bundle–separate the things are impossibly expensive. Now DirectTv wants over $300 as a penalty for canceling with them which we wouldn’t have had to do if CenturyLink didn’t suck so much. DirectTV said ‘well you can keep us and use Cox for your Internet’. No, I can’t because it will cost me 3x’s as much per month if I go that route. I can’t afford over $300 a month–that truly is insane. To put it into perspective, that’s more than I pay for health insurance every month!!! The ONLY other option for Internet connection at the new house (or anywhere else in central AZ) was Cox Communications–who has the absolute worst customer support I have ever had the misfortune to encounter in all my years of consumer spending (I used to have them when I lived in the Central Phoenix corridor). There was no other choice, so I signed up with Cox.

    In order to get near the same speed I am now paying slightly more per month AND they forced us to get a phone line. I haven’t had a plug in phone in years and I still don’t. I refuse to put a phone in so telemarketers can bug me 24/7. Screw em. So now I’m paying for phone I don’t need AND a thousand channels I don’t watch so I can access the Internet and watch HBO. Why are these companies allowed to control every point of access we have to streaming content? They don’t allow monopolies in other industries but this one seems to be A-Okay with Congress. It boggles the mind.

  • Yay!

    Is it coincidence that as ratings go up, piracy rates do as well? I think not.

    People watch it, talk about it with non-subscribing friends, who go out and get a torrent, fall in love, buy the DVDs, tell all their friends….some of whom pay for HBO and start watching the show legit. etc

    Piracy is an aid for the process

  • Is it unreasonable to expect 300 000 on one file for the finale?
    Or is that just maniac?

  • Hello HBO. A good portion of that is recoverable revenue. Make an online only option available to people who do not have a cable subscription.

  • Interior Bannisters,

    HBO probably likes the download numbers. I gives them leverage in negotiating with the Cable companies. You want us exclusive to Cable we get paid $XX per customer. Don’t pay that and we open up HBOGO to internet users in your region.

  • {Buffering}…The Lannisters aren’t…{buffering}…the only…{buffering}…ones who…{buffering}…pay their…{buffering}…debts.

  • As I watched episode 5 in a NYC bar jam-packed with hundreds of patrons who showed up solely to watch GoT, I couldn’t help but think of how much more money HBO might have made if their parent company didn’t insist on an outdated model of distribution which charges ≥$66/month (not including Internet) for what would amount to a single show for most of those people.

  • Richard,

    Nah, not even with those numbers….HBO makes much more money via Cable Companies than they can get via this “new” market. Until that balances out, I just don’t see HBO making that move. It’s a numbers game pure and simple. Take those 207,000 people. Let’s be generous and say they are willing to pay for the HBO Go only option and they are willing to pay twice what they pay for Netflix at $16 a month. That would end up being $39,744,000 per year IF they all stayed enrolled for an entire year. Compare that what they bring in through subscriber fees (according to TimeWarner which is $1.4 billion).

    So to make that kind of marketing switch, HBO would need almost 3.5 times as many illegal downloaders (over 720,000) to subscribe for an entire year at $16 per month. That’s not going to happen any time soon. The only way it will happen is if all those people who buy HBO through the Cable companies simply stop buying it that way. Once that revenue dries up, HBO will be forced to try alternative pricing structures. Will subscribers do that? Nope. No way, no how.

    Now you may say, why can’t they offer it in addition to the cable subscription, because they would be undercutting their own business partner and that is SURELY a violation of their contractual relationship. I would bet my eyeteeth that Cable Companies could and would sue for breach of contract and they would win. The only way it will happen is if the Cable Companies decide to allow it. And they never, ever will. HBO and other specialty channels like that pay for the thousands of other channels of drivel out there and without them the need for Cable completely disappears.

    What needs to happen is that Congress has to break these monopolies up OR a new content/cable company needs to be formed that can offer TV channels a la carte. We have the technology to do this…they could do it now. But’s it’s so much more profitable to hold us all by the balls and force us to buy all of their services because we have no other options.

  • I subscribe to HBO Canada, watch the episode on premiere night. Then I’ll pirate the episode from the ol’ Bay of goodies, so I can screenshot, gif or rewatch the episode whenever I feel like. And then I buy the DVD box set when it comes out. Do I win?

  • Ah, yet another record-setting milestone for Game of Thrones this week. You would think that we would get tired of them … but no.

  • I’ve been pirating it since season one. I’ve still bought every season on DVD and 6 coffee mugs. 5 T-shirts. 4 patches. 6 Action Figures. All 5 Books. 3 posters. a hand of the king pin. a magnet set, a blanket and a damn $100 snow globe. and turned 8 friends on to the show. 6 of them now subscribe to HBO and are recommending it to other friends. “Allowing” us pirates to do our thing seems to be paying off. But I have to wonder what choice HBO even has in the matter. Is it even possible to arrest 1.5 million people?

  • Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ,

    I don’t know where you live, but I heard that you may be able to get HBO without cable–you would have to pay the monthly rate though. Check out if you can do that with Roku or Amazon.

  • I feel like we have to have this conversation every year.

    HBO has evaluated whether it’s worth offering an online-only option, and has found it to be a bad financial choice at this time. This almost certainly has to do with the relationship with cable companies and HBO’s place in their premium packages.

    People are also overestimating the number of people who would go from free torrents to paying for GoT or HBO.

  • If you count in streaming sites, OCH’s, usenet, private trackers etc., it’s actually pretty obvious more people watch GoT per download than on TV and probably more people overseas than in the US.

  • Turri:
    If you count in streaming sites, OCH’s, usenet, private trackers etc., it’s actually pretty obvious more people watch GoT per download than on TV and probably more people overseas than in the US.

    It is pretty funny how news sites focus on Torrents when the vast majority of people use illegal streaming sites. If you are seeing 1.5 million torrent downloads of an episode, then it’s not insane to suggest 3 million are watching it somewhere online… illegally. Live.

  • Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ,

    It’s not just 207000 people torrenting though – the numbers released by TorrentFreak for season 3 said that it was an average of 5.9 million downloads per episode. That’s not US exclusive users though (estimates put the US at about 10% of the downloads).

  • Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ,

    I’ve been to the US and most everything seemed to cost A LOT less than here in Sweden – It boggles my mind how internet and TV can stay so much more expensive! When I first started talking to people on msg boards way back and learned what you people pay for internet (and mobile phone), I was astounded but I figured your prices would come down…and become cheaper than here (as with most other things)

    I pay about $32 for internet (Fiberoptic jacket 100/10 but really about 90/60). In the neighbouring building the the housing association signed a deal for all the members so they pay about half that per member. $32 is the cheapest I can get for this quality and speed, but I have a number of options for less than $50 for speeds between 50-250 mbit/s with different suppliers and techniques (more $ for higher speeds than that)

    Apart from $32 for internet I pay $12 each for netflix and HBOnordic (both stand-alone).

    Our suppliers seems to be doing al-right, so I suspect one of us is getting ripped off…

    Also, I may…or I may not…still torrent game of thrones. Whatever the truth is, I still pay for it with HBOnordic, waiting for their streaming service to improve. I suspect that quite a few of those that pay for the service still torrent the files and that higher torrent numbers also = higher number of paying customers.

  • in my country, episodes are a week late. hbo is kinda cheap since its bundled with other channels around 25usd per month.

    but whats funny is how you guys are complaining about internet speed, here we pay around 50usd per month for a 2MBPS internet connection, thats right, 2MBPS.

    since the people around here (20s and 30s) usually don’t have cable and the net connection as you can see is #$%%, streaming isnt a option. torrenting is. and if you get a download rate of 100kbps then you are lucky.

  • These numbers also aren’t counting downloads from file locker sites.

    I have an HBO subscription, but after watching the initial airing I also download it because it’s better than HBO Go for going to specific scenes and looking at things frame-by-frame to notice details that people are mentioning in discussions, and it will play on any device without needing an Internet connection (great for long train/plane trips). Then I buy the Bluray when it’s released to get a nice 1080p version.

  • Ser Pounce:
    Iron Born scum be pirating everywhere.

    We’re not Ironborn, we don’t pay the Iron Price (at least, I’ve never killed anyone for a copy of Game of Thrones…yet. :) ).

    I prefer to think of it as the “Seaworth & Saan Edition”, provided by the friendly folks at Seaworth & Saan Distributors of Onion Bay.

  • Everydayimhodoring,


    it will be not financially viable for hbo to expand their services on our country. and also, the episodes in hbo are censored so basically all sexpositions are cut or more or less incoherent.

    and i have a hard time finding dvds of GOT. either there is less supply or it sells quickly.

  • Casso,

    yeah, i don’t get why torrents sites are parading downloading numbers for GOT episodes.

    for me, torrenting is more like smuggling rather than pirating. and we all know what the onion knight says about smuggling,

    “If you’re a famous smuggler, you’re not doin’ it right”

    if you are a famous torrent site, they will shut you down. RIP mininova, still mourning you for all the good times we had.

  • anuhealani,

    Which bar? and how was the exprience watching it at a bar? not too noisy? Let me know! I am in NYC too and would love to try that experience!

  • You are correct. I haven’t pirated the show but did get rid of my cable and use Roku/Netflix/Hulu etc… I would gladly pay per show through Amazon or HBO GO but I will not go back to cable just to watch one or two shows.

    Mrs. D. Ranged in AZ,

  • :(
    I really wish I could apologize somewhere for illegally downloading GOT.
    It’s not aired here, not even on paid channels, nor is it available in the stores.
    Purchasing on the internet is impossible too from my country, I tried.
    Sorry :'(