Game of Thrones is once again the most pirated TV show of the year.
Figures from TorrentFreak show that HBO’s fantasy epic took the crown for the most torrented TV series on the web in 2016, the fifth year in a row that it’s come top of the site’s chart. The highest number of people actively sharing an episode peaked at 350,000, just after the Season 6 finale.
The second most pirated show was The Walking Dead, also holding onto to its ranking from last year. Suits, Arrow, The Flash and Vikings also remained in the top 10 for the second year in a row. New entrants to the chart included Lucifer, which returned for a second season this year, and The Grand Tour.
Amazon’s motoring show became the most pirated series ever, based on its first episode, one report claimed earlier this year, although across the whole 12 months, TorrentFreak places the programme in 10th place, below Suits. Westworld was the highest ranking new show, becoming the third most popular programme to pirate, as people turned to illegal methods to view series rather than use HBO’s OTT streaming service, HBO Now.
Interestingly, the report from TorrentFreak, which is based on several sources, including statistics reported by public BitTorrent trackers, found that traffic levels were around the same as last year, suggesting that there has been no growth in piracy in 2016, although the site does note that “a lot of people have made the switch from torrents to [illegal] streaming sites over the past months”, which may have impacted the numbers.
Certainly, legal streaming sites have reported growth in users this year, with Amazon’s The Grand Tour its most-watched original series yet and Netflix continuing to grow worldwide. NOW TV and Sky reported that Westworld was a huge hit, with a record-breaking number of users watching the show live and on-demand. Amazon, meanwhile, has launched its service globally, which will make its successor to Top Gear available to countries where it was previously not possible to see legally..
TorrentFreak has ranked the most pirated films of 2016 too, with Deadpool topping the list. Indeed, superhero and comic book movies dominated the list, with Batman v Superman and Captain America: Civil War in second and third place, X-Men: Apocalypse in fifth and Suicide Squad in eighth.
The site notes that there remains a strong correlation between piracy and box-office takings, as top grossing movies tend to do well on illegal sites too, although the bigger hitters in US cinemas are also the ones that have the heaviest marketing push, so they are the films that people will most likely have heard of. The Revenant, Finding Dory and Star Wars: The Force Awakens are also in the top 10.
In the UK, five of the most pirated movies of 2016 are already available on NOW TV, as part of monthly £9.99 subscription, with no contract. Subscription VOD services such as NOW TV and Netflix are increasingly driving growth of digital media, as they offer a legal way to watch films and TV shows that is both affordable and flexible.