The fourth season finale of Game of Thrones has set a new record for illegal downloads.
The tenth episode of the highly popular TV series was downloaded by over 1.5 million file sharers in the 12 hours following its transmission on American screens on Sunday night, according to Torrent Freak.
In total, downloads of the episode during the 12 hours came to over 2,000 terabytes (two petabytes, or roughly 233,000 DVDs) worth of data downloaded.
One illegal file of season four closer ‘The Children’ was shared by over 254,000 people simultaneously, setting a new piracy record for the most sharers – a record formerly held by a previous episode of the show, which saw 200,000 shares.
Torrent Freak predicted that 7.5 million people will illegally download the episode over the coming weeks, exceeding the initial US viewing figures for the finale which topped 7.1 million – the show’s most-watched episode to date.
If accurate, the statistic will make the show the most-pirated TV show of the year – a crown it claimed in 2013.
Jeff Bewkes, CEO of Time Warner – the parent company of Game of Thrones creator HBO – previously said that piracy has a beneficial effect on cable subscription numbers, stating that the title of ‘most-pirated’ was “better than an Emmy”.