Game of Thrones Visibly Boosted Global Piracy Traffic

Finally, to illustrate how Game of Thrones traffic is dominating torrents sites we only have to look at the most shared files on The Pirate Bay. Currently, top seven are all GoT related.

Game of Thrones Traffic Surge Slowed Down The Pirate Bay

The Pirate Bay suffered some downtime today, welcoming users with a Cloudflare error message, which is nothing new really. But earlier this week the site was hard to reach for a more unusual reason; the Game of Thrones season finale overloaded the torrent site with visitors.

pirate bay

The Pirate Bay was unreachable for several hours today, after it already experienced connectivity issues on Monday and Tuesday.

Today’s downtime was due to a DDoS attack, we were informed, and at the time of writing the site is working fine again.

What’s interesting, though, is that the site’s connectivity issues earlier this week were triggered by something more unusual. A massive increase in “Game of Thrones” traffic.

Yesterday, the TPB-team said traffic to the site quadrupled on Monday after the season finale was uploaded. A 400% increase means millions of extra visitors, something that can easily grind a site down to a halt.

The Pirate Bay is capable of handling some traffic peaks, we were told, but the Game of Thrones surge was hard to manage.

The spike in visitors is not unique to The Pirate Bay website. It affected other torrent sites too, especially after The Pirate Bay became unreachable in some parts of the world.

One torrent site owner found the traffic surge so unprecedented and sudden, that it almost seemed like a DDoS attack.

The problems are not limited to torrent sites alone. Plenty of legal streaming platforms had trouble keeping up with the Game of Thrones demand as well. For example, a lot of HBO Go users complained that they couldn’t access the service when the season finale aired.

Finally, to illustrate how Game of Thrones traffic is dominating torrents sites we only have to look at the most shared files on The Pirate Bay. Currently, top seven are all GoT related.

Now that Game of Thrones has come to an end, for this season at least, things are likely to calm down a bit.

TPB’s most shared torrents

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Game of Thrones Visibly Boosted Global Piracy Traffic

Game of Thrones came to an end in 2019. The popular HBO TV series has made thousands of headlines over the years, not least because it was massively popular among pirates. New data now reveals that the final season actually triggered a visible uptick in global piracy traffic.

Since the release of the first episode back in 2011, Game of Thrones has conquered the hearts of many people.

Unfortunately for HBO, not all of these fans have enjoyed the series through legal channels.

For several years in a row, Game of Thrones has been the most pirated TV-show. This year, when the final season aired, the interest was once again overwhelming.

While there have already been some numbers floating around, revealing that millions of people turned to pirate sites to watch the show, it wasn’t really clear what the broader impact was on the total piracy ecosystem.

There was some anecdotal evidence, with torrent site operators reporting massive boosts in traffic, but new data from MUSO now places the Game of Thrones numbers in a broader context.

When we reviewed global pirate site traffic data provided by MUSO this week, we noticed what at first appeared to be an unusual uptick. After more than a year of slowly declining visitor numbers, there was a sudden increase in April 2019, as can be seen below.

Looking more closely, it turned out that this uptick was mostly related to video content. Other categories, including music piracy, were actually going down. While this seemed odd, the date of the sudden April spike provided a very likely explanation.

On April 14, the day of the Game of Thrones season premiere, the number of pirate site visits jumped drastically, up by roughly 45 million compared to a week earlier. This pattern returned with each subsequent episode, with the record being set after the third episode.

Overall, Game of Thrones appears to account for an initial uptick of roughly 8% in global traffic to pirate sites. That’s immense, to say the least. As mentioned before, this traffic boost wasn’t visible on other sites, such as stream-rippers, which are related to music piracy.

Sites such as The Pirate Bay did notice a sharp increase in traffic though, as the graph below shows.

TorrentFreak spoke to Phil Taylor, an analyst at MUSO, who supports our findings and observed the Game of Thrones boost as well.

“The demand for piracy of Game of Thrones is unprecedented. The demand for GOT was so high that it visibly increased traffic for domains such as thepiratebay.org,” Taylor tells us.

“We will get a better view of overall traffic and trends for 2019 as the year progresses, however, the impact of Game of Thrones on overall traffic in April and May of 2019 is clear,” he adds.

Seeing the visible impact of a single title on overall yearly piracy data is rather unique. At TorrentFreak, we certainly haven’t seen it before. And now that Game of Thrones has come to an end, it’s doubtful we will again.

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