Piracy-related news site Torrentfreak‘s annual list of the most pirated TV shows has just come out for 2015, and it should be no surprise to anyone that Game of Thrones sits atop the list for the fourth year in a row. The HBO series has been earning this dubious honor since 2012 when its second season bested former most pirated TV show Dexter for the No. 1 spot.
Back in 2012, the competition was fierce. Game of Thrones downloads were estimated at 4.2 million with second place Dexter at 3.85 million and third place Big Bang Theory at 3.2 million. But since then, Game of Thrones has pulled apart from the pack with Usain Bolt-level dominance. Its 2015 numbers are estimated at a staggering 14.4 million downloads, doubling the 6.9 million downloads of the second place series, The Walking Dead. The Big Bang Theory remains steadfast at No. 3 with 4.4 million.
Comic-book adaptations are heavily featured on this year’s Most Pirated TV Shows list. AMC’s The Walking Dead returns to the No. 2 slot for the second year in a row. Arrow returns for its third year on the list at No. 4 with 3.9 million downloads, while The Flash makes its debut at No. 5 with 3.6 million downloads. Supergirl has made a strong debut at No. 8 with 3 million downloads. Gotham, which sat at No. 5 in 2014, has dropped completely off the list this year.
One interesting inclusion in the list is USA Network’s Mr. Robot, which grabbed the No. 6 spot with 3.5 million downloads — twice the number of estimated U.S. viewers it got on traditional television. That show arrived out of nowhere in the summer to a lot of critical acclaim, and it’s good to see it get the attention it deserves, even if just in pirated downloads.
Download stats are quickly becoming more important to television execs. In the past, the industry was only interested in trying to shut down torrent downloading. While that’s a lost battle that continues to be fought, many networks are starting to pay close attention to the numbers and demographics of fans pirating their content. People are obviously passionate about these shows, and the more a studio knows about those who love their content, the more likely they’ll be able to make some money off them in the future… even if they lost some due to piracy now.
1. Game of Thrones (14.4m est. downloads, 8.11m est. U.S. viewers
2. The Walking Dead (6.9m est. downloads, 15.7m est. U.S. viewers)
3. The Big Bang Theory (4.4m est. downloads, 18.3m est. U.S. viewers)
4. Arrow (3.9m est. downloads, 3.92m est. U.S. viewers)
5. The Flash (3.6m est. downloads, 4m est. U.S. viewers)
6. Mr. Robot (3.5m est. downloads, 1.75m est. U.S. viewers)
7. Vikings (3.3m est. downloads, 5m est. U.S. viewers)
8. Supergirl (3m est. downloads, 12.96m est. U.S. viewers)
9. The Blacklist (2.9m est. downloads, 10.1m est. U.S. viewers)
10. Suits (2.6m est. downloads, 2.38m est. U.S. viewers)