HBO’s Game of Thrones has once again topped TorrentFreak‘s annual list of most pirated TV shows, with AMC’s Breaking Bad moving up to second place.
Game of Thrones has been downloaded 5.9 million times via BitTorrent, with more than half of the downloads occurring in the first week after the show aired. The number of downloads edged out the number of US TV viewers by 400,000. Last year, the number of downloads and US TV viewers were 4,280,000 and 4,200,000, respectively.
Breaking Bad moved up three spots from last year to claim second place, which was held by Dexter last year. In 2012, it was downloaded 2,580,000 times with 2,980,000 US TV viewers. But with the series ending in September, the number of downloads jumped to 4,200,000 while the number of US viewers nearly quadrupled to 10,280,000.
AMC’s The Walking Dead also moved up three spots, displacing The Big Bang Theory at number three. The Walking Dead was downloaded 3,600,000 times, with 16,110,000 US viewers. The Big Bang Theory and Dexter rounded out the top five with 3,400,000 and 3,100,000 downloads, respectively.
Jeff Bawkes, CEO of HBO’s parent company Time Warner, called Game of Thrones earning the “most-pirated” title “better than an Emmy.” But Gale Anne Hurd, executive producer of The Walking Dead, told Variety last week that it is difficult to break pirates of their habit.
“There’s a mistaken belief by many of my peers that piracy is somehow good, that viewers will develop a habit to pay for it,” she said. “I’m not sure they really understand other than anecdotal evidence that their ratings go up that the people who pirate are not then going to choose legal downloads or legal viewing in the future.”
Although Breaking Bad was the second most pirated TV show of 2013, the series finale, “Felina,” attracted 10.3 million viewers, making it the most watched episode in the show’s five seasons. The part one finale, “Gliding All Over” had only attracted 2.78 million viewers.