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Game of Thrones is widely pirated.

Factors that are thought to contribute to this, in addition to the


series's popularity, are the significant delay in availability outside of HBO or its affiliates,[66] and the
cost of subscriptions to these services. According to the file-sharing news website TorrentFreak, this cost
ranges from 15 to 25 U.S. dollars per month in the U.S., up to 26 pounds per episode in the UK and 52
Australian dollars per episode in Australia, if somebody were to subscribe to a service exclusively for
Game of Thrones.[67]

TorrentFreak estimated Game of Thrones to be the most-pirated TV series of 2012[68] and 2013.[69]
One episode was downloaded about 4,280,000 times through public BitTorrent trackers in 2012, about
equal to the number of broadcast viewers.[70][71] Piracy rates were particularly high in Australia.[72]
This led US Ambassador to Australia Jeff Bleich to issue a public statement[73] condemning Australian
piracy of the series in 2013.[74] One copy of the third season's premiere was the most simultaneously
shared file in the history of the BitTorrent filesharing protocol, with over 160,000 sharers and more than
a million downloads.[75]

Observers, including series director David Petrarca[76] and Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes[77] remarked
that illegal downloads did not hurt the series' prospects, as it benefited from the resulting "buzz" and
social commentary, while the high rates of piracy did not significantly translate to lost subscriptions.[77]
According to Polygon, HBO's relatively relaxed attitude towards piracy and sharing login credentials
amounted to a "free-to-play" model for premium television.[77] To counteract piracy, HBO announced
in 2013 that it intended to make its content more widely available worldwide within the week of the US
premiere, including through its digital service HBO GO.[78]