Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Game of Thrones on M-Net again tops the list for most pirated and illegally downloaded show in 2016; robot drama Westworld joins the list.

The hit fantasy drama Game of Thrones is once again topping the list of the most illegally downloaded show, taking the number one place on the top 10 list for 2016 TV shows downloaded and shared as illegally pirated torrents.

For the fifth year in a row Game of Thrones, broadcast in South Africa and across Africa on M-Net Edge (DStv 102), took the crown.

As broadband penetration, speed and cheaper internet access keep growing, more and more people are also downloading better and higher resolution pirated versions, moving from 480p episodes to 720p and 1080p to watch episodes in high definition (HD).

According to TorrentFreak that compiles the annual list, illegal downloads are growing worldwide, although the numbers don't account for the exploding trend of streaming.

"A lot of people have made the switch from torrents to streaming sites over the past months, which likely had an impact on the numbers," says TorrentFreak.

Yet, despite the increase in streaming, the torrenting of pirated copies remains steady, with about 350 000 illegal torrents per episode of Game of Thrones that took place in 2016 - the same as in 2015.

In South Africa, TV viewers now have access to Naspers' ShowMax, Netflix, PCCW Global's, the LGBT streamer Pride TV, MTN's VU and since last month also Amazon's Amazon Video Prime as legitimate subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) streaming services.

Interestingly, out of the top 10 list of most pirated and most sought after TV shows, M-Net holds the broadcasting rights to 8, with 9 of the shows available on MultiChoice's DStv satellite pay-TV platform on the M-Net (DStv 101), M-Net Edge (DStv 102) and VUZU AMP (DStv 103) channels.

Only the zombie drama The Walking Dead on FOX (DStv 125 / StarSat 131) from the FOX Networks Group Africa channel is a show available on a TV channel other than one of the M-Net linear TV channels, and Jeremy Clarkson's The Grand Tour car show that just started is the only one making the top 10 list from a legitimate SVOD streaming service.

While Game of Thrones from HBO retains its title for half a decade now as the most desired TV show in the world, 2016 brought a newcomer that instantly jumped to third place - the HBO science fiction robot drama Westworld that like Game of Thrones was also an "Express from the US" title from M-Net.

The superhero shows The Flash and Arrow come in at the fourth and fifth spots, with The Big Bang Theory that is quickly losing steam and dropped from third to sixth place.

"The new show quickly gained popularity in pirate circles and is in third spot already, which is quite an achievement," says TorrentFreak that crunched the numbers using BitTorrent trackers.

TorrentFreak also rubbished the British tabloid reporting that recently claimed that The Grand Tour has become "the most illegally downloaded show in history" with the first episode allegedly downloaded 7.9 million times.

"It is nonsense," says TorrentFreak. "First of all, it would be virtually impossible for any new show to be the most downloaded ever if it's up against those that have been available for years."

"But, let's assume that we're talking about downloads on a weekly basis. Even then, the signs are pretty bad. Looking at the most recent list of most pirated TV-shows on The Pirate Bay shows that several other shows currently outrank The Grand Tour by a wide margin, The Walking Dead in particular."

Rank 2015 Show
1        1       Game of Thrones
2        2       The Walking Dead
3                 Westworld
4        5       The Flash
5        4       Arrow
6        3       The Big Bang Theory
7        7       Vikings
8                 Lucifer
9        10     Suits
10               The Grand Tour