Cape Town – The fantasy drama Game of Thrones once again topped the list of the most pirated and illegally downloaded TV show of the year for the 4th year in a row.
Interestingly, 8 out of the top 10 list of most pirated TV shows are shown in South Africa by M-Net across its range of channels on DStv.
TorrentFreak has released its annual list of most pirated TV shows and Game of Thrones (DStv 102) by far tops the list with 14,4 million illegal downloads in 2015 so far.
Second is the zombie drama The Walking Dead (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) with 6.9 million downloads.
It's followed by nerd comedy The Big Bang Theory (DStv 101) with 4.4 million, Arrow (DStv 101) with 3.9 million, The Flash (DStv 114) with 3.6 million, Mr. Robot (DStv 101) with 3.5 million and then Vikings (DStv 186) in 7th place with 3.3 million.
The new Supergirl (DStv 114) with 3 million, The Blacklist (DStv 101) with 2.9 million and Suits (DStv 101) with 2.6 million round out the top 10 list's 8th, 9th and 10th places.
Piracy is increasing
The astounding numbers are only for the most downloaded single episode of a series, with a series that can only be listed once for the purposes of compiling the list.
In reality, multiple individual episodes of a single series on TorrentFreak’s top 10 list for 2015 will have millions of downloads of its own.
TorrentFreak also says the illegal downloads for each of the shows will actually be "significantly higher" as online streaming and downloads for file-hosting services are not included since there are no public sources to draw data from.
Earlier this year Game of Thrones shattered the all-time piracy record when more than 258 131 people were downloading and sharing the same Game of Thrones episode simultaneously over the internet.
Pirates are upsizing and upscaling
According to TorrentFreak, while 480p versions of TV shows remain the most popular, downloaders are drastically upsizing and upscaling with a large number of people starting to upgrade to higher definition 720p and 1080p versions of TV shows and movies.
TorrentFreak says in 2015 "pirates have shown an increase in interest for higher quality releases compared to earlier years".
While broadcasters and video content suppliers like M-Net, Fox International Channels (FIC), HBO and MultiChoice have been working harder in 2015 than ever before to close the broadcasting gap between the American and international airing of episodes. The prevalence of piracy of TV shows in South Africa and Africa, like in the rest of the world, is increasing.
"There is no sign that TV show piracy is declining," says TorrentFreak. "On the contrary. The download numbers for the most popular shows continues to rise, sometimes exceeding the number of traditional viewers in the United States".
The top 10 most pirated TV shows of 2015:
1) Game of Thrones
2) The Walking Dead
3) The Big Bang Theory
5) The Flash
6) Mr. Robot
9) The Blacklist