"Game of Thrones" already has knights and dragons. Now, there are pirates.
The blockbuster HBO series earned the distinction of being the most illegally downloaded TV-show for the second straight year, according to TorrentFreak
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With an estimated 5.9 million BitTorrent downloads for the Season 3 finale, "Game of Thrones" received more downloads than AMC's "Breaking Bad" (4.2 million) and "The Walking Dead" (3.6 million).
Strangely, piracy has helped companies determine a show's popularity.
"That's better than an Emmy," said Jeff Bewkes, CEO of Time Warner, which is the parent company to HBO, told investors during an August earnings conference call, according to TorrentFreak. "Our experience is, it all leads to more [subscribers]."
While helping to create a buzz for any show, TorrentFreak surmises one reason why "Game of Thrones" ranks so high is because of HBO's preference to keep exclusive access to the show, rather than making it available via Netflix.
Rounding out the Top 10 most pirated shows are CBS' "The Big Bang Theory," Showtime's "Dexter," CBS' "How I Met Your Mother," USA's "Suits," Showtime's "Homeland," History Channel's "Vikings," and CW's "Arrow."
Of course, not every producer agrees on the "benefits" of piracy.
"There's a mistaken belief by many of my peers that piracy is somehow good, that viewers will develop a habit to pay for it," "Walking Dead" producer Gale Hurd told Variety
. "I'm not sure they really understand other than anecdotal evidence that their ratings go up that the
people who pirate are not then going to choose legal downloads or legal viewing in the future."
"Game of Thrones" is a wildly popular fantasy drama created by David Benioff and D.B. Weiss. Stories have been adapted from a series of books by George R. R. Martin, the first of which shares the name of the series.
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