Game of Thrones Premiere Most Pirated Show of 2017 – Despite Ed Sheeran!

Sunday’s premiere smashed streaming and torrenting records, despite backlash against Ed Sheeran’s cameo.

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It seems even the backlash to Ed Sheeran’s somewhat awkward cameo on the Game of Thrones Season 7 Premiere isn’t enough to put us off torrenting the episode in our droves.

With the 69th Primetime Emmy Awards only two months away, the show’s creators have faced criticism over casting Ed Sheeran for an extended cameo in the season’s opening episode. Public opinion of the Marmite-prince of pop is divided to say the least. Even despite fans having a full five months to come to terms with the news, for the most part the backlash has been harsh.

That’s not to say that Ed is without admirers. Reactions ranged from elated…

… through surprised and weird…

…to the inevitably mean.

On balance, the negativity eventually took it’s toll on Ed, leading to him temporarily quitting Twitter hours after the show aired.

Ed Sheeran's Twitter header

The episode’s director, Jeremy Podewsa, came out in defence of Sheeran’s performance, claiming casting was ‘appropriate’ and that Sheeran came onto the show with ‘only lovely intentions.’

This did nothing to hinder a record 16 million viewers from streaming the episode from HBO’s website, which crashed on Sunday night due to the unprecedented volume of visitors.

Early reports by estimate that the episode was shared by 130,000 viewers at one time on the day of release, with an extra 20,000 streams per hour reported by one source on the site.

Although these download numbers are a record for 2017, they have fallen since their 2015 peak of a quarter of million simultaneous shares. Even with this recent fall, Game of Thrones continues to reign over its competitors as the most downloaded television series ever. Estimated total future downloads and streams reach into the millions.

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HBO has recently been cracking down on piracy with the help of US anti-piracy firm IP Echelon. However, back in 2013, Time Warner’s CEO was reported as believing that the awareness created for the network by online piracy is ‘better than an Emmy.’

Let’s hope for HBO and Game of Thrones that with the Emmys so close, the judges don’t remember like the North.

If you do intend to get hold of Game of Thrones episode via torrents, protecting your identity is paramount. To help keep your online identity protected, have a look at our guide to watching Game of Thrones online.

Rob McAllister

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