Illegal downloads of episodes of Game of Thrones increase more than 45% year-on-year in the weeks before its season five premiere, according to data collected by content security firm Irdeto.
Episodes of seasons one to four of the HBO fantasy drama were illegally downloaded more than 7 million times between February 5 and April 6, 2015 according to the research, compared to 4.9 million times during the same period a year earlier.
“The 2015 data shows an average of 116,000 illegal downloads per day of Game of Thrones episodes, which is an increase of 36,000 more downloads per day compared to 2014,” said Irdeto.
The security firm said that Game of Thrones remains the most pirated TV show worldwide – followed by The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad – with Brazil, France and the US accounting for the most illegal downloads of the show.
“It’s often said that piracy is good marketing, but as piracy continues to skyrocket, the mindset is shifting toward offering a compelling legal alternative like HBO Now to start converting pirates into paying customers,” said Rory O’Connor, vice president, services, Irdeto.
“Our piracy data indicates Game of Thrones continues to be wildly popular in countries like Brazil and France, where a service like HBO Now could be a good way to recapture some revenue.”