“Game of Thrones” TV show and piracy

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

“Game of Thrones” is a fantasy drama TV series on the station HBO. It is based on author George R.R. Martin’s series of fantasy novels, “A Song of Ice and Fire.” While the first episode of the TV series aired in 2011, the first book of the series came out in 1996. The TV adaptation of the books became widely successful, making George R.R. Martin a millionaire. According to data from Statista.com and Forbes, his yearly earnings from 2012 to 2015 were around $12 million.

“Game of Thrones” places sixth among the highest production cost TV series in the U.S. The price for making a single episode increased from $6 million in Season 2 to $10 million in Season 6, according to Business Insider and Statista.com. Like many other modern TV series, Game of Thrones makes heavy use of computer graphics for visual effects, but this is not the only cause for its extensive budget. While the series is primarily filmed in Belfast in the United Kingdom, other notable locations include Croatia, Spain, Malta and Morocco.

Since its Season 1 premiere, the series’s popularity has expanded more than three-fold. The largest boost in popularity occurred between Season 3 and Season 4 when the series saw an average of nearly 2 million more viewers per episode. Later, Season 6 of the series managed to gather an average of 7.72 million viewers in front of the screens.

The success of “Game of Thrones” reaches beyond the U.S.; people in other countries also enjoy the show. Unfortunately, in many cases, viewers gain access to the series illegally. We must also note that in many countries there are no legal ways to access this kind of content or people cannot afford them.

The graph above shows the top 10 countries pirating “Game of Thrones” as of April 2015 (We used the data from Irdeto, published by Statista.com.). They used a network of automated crawlers and proprietary tracking software to identify users and files on the BitTorrent network — it does not include people viewing the series on the illegal streaming websites or downloading it through means other than BitTorrent.

Brazil was the leading country for illegally downloading “Game of Thrones” episodes through the BitTorrent network. Internet users in Brazil made nearly 936,000 illegal downloads of the series’ episodes. If we look closely at the three top countries and their respective population numbers, we notice an interesting trend. Brazil and the U.S. are very large countries, with approximately 208 million people living in Brazil and 325 million in the U.S. At the same time, the population of France is less than a third the size of Brazil’s: 67 million. It turns out that the number of illegal downloads of “Game of Thrones” in France is equal to approximately 1.2 percent of the entire population.

Discuss this article on our forum with over 1,900,000 registered members.

About Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov

Alexander Fishkov, Ph.D. student Computer Science

Alexander is a Ph.D. student in Computer Science. He currently holds B.S. and M.S. degrees in Applied Math. He has experience working for industry major companies performing research in the fields of machine learning, data mining and natural language processing. In his free time, Alexander enjoys hiking, Nordic skiing and traveling.

Other posts by Alexander Fishkov:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *