The Season 8 premiere of Game of Thrones was pirated 54 million times globally in a matter of 24 hours.
According to digital-piracy analytics company Muso, the first episode, “Winterfell,” was watched by a total of nearly 55 million viewers, a number that combines repeat airings and viewership on some streaming services.
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The episode was reportedly most pirated in India with 10 million views and China with five million views.
“Despite considerable global efforts to tackle piracy over the past couple of years, this data shows that consumers are still being driven to unlicensed sources to find content,” Muso CEO Andy Chatterley said in a statement. “It’s imperative that rights holders understand that piracy audiences are some of their most dedicated fans, which, above all else, presents a vast commercial opportunity.”
The Nielsen company said 17.4 million people watched the Sunday opener to the show’s final season, either live on the network at 9 p.m., streamed through HBO’s on-demand service or during two reruns that aired later that night. Nielsen can’t account for people who watched more than once.
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The past weekend’s season premiere stands as the most-watched one-day event in the history of HBO, which began in 1978.
HBO’s previous high-water mark was last season’s finale of Game of Thrones, making it likely that this new HBO record will be eclipsed when the series ends on May 19.
Nielsen said that 11.8 million people watched the season premiere traditionally, meaning when it first aired on the network at 9 p.m.
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The numbers are likely to keep going up; HBO estimates that 32.8 million people watched each episode of the show last season. That includes people who watched weeks after it first aired and repeat viewers.
—With files from the Associated Press