"Say my name."  (Source: AMC)
"Remember my name... and don't be a leech."

If there's one thing to be gleaned from TorrentFreak's annual statistics of the most-pirate TV shows, it's that global TV viewers love deep, character-driven plots and aren't deterred by a generous helping of death.
While the final season of Bryan Cranston's brilliant precision as the hardened Heisenberg earned rave reviews, it was the ongoing TV dramatization of the George R. R. Martin Fantasy novel Game of Thrones that earned the top spot in these annual rankings.

Most Pirated

For better or worse, the HBO-aired Game of Thrones didn't gather nearly the viewership of AMC's second-place Breaking Bad or third place The Walking Dead, but beat its foes in piracy rateUSA Network's Suits, Showtime's controversial final season of Dexter, and Homeland (also Showtime) were among other shows that saw unusually high piracy rates compared to their offline TV viewership.
Here are last year's rankings for old time's sake:
Most pirated

Showtime, HBO, et al., may have themselves be to blame for the high piracy rates of their most popular shows.  According to AP:

No matter how much Netflix Inc. is willing to pay for the rights, some online video remains off-limits.

Major movie studios are refusing to license the rights to most of their latest movies at the same time they're released on DVDs. Premium cable channels such as HBO and Showtime also are withholding their most popular series, including "Game of Thrones" and "Dexter," because they are worried about losing subscribers if the content is available on Netflix's less expensive Internet service.

And they may not even mind. 

Game of Thrones Emmy
While Game of Thrones has won Emmy awards, HBO's parent Time Warner takes even more pride in its "most pirated" title, which it says drives paid subscriptions. [Image Source: Reuters]

HBO is owned by Time Warner Inc. (TWX).  In a recent earnings call Tim Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes was asked if he viewed the record-setting Game of Thrones piracy as a complement.  He responded:

I have to admit it, I think you’re right.  Our experience is that it leads to more paying subs. I think you’re right that Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world. That’s better than an Emmy.

So it sounds like some movie directors are finally coming around to what many peer-reviewed studies have long suggested -- that piracy is great free publicity for paid content.

Source: TorrentFreak

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