House of the Dragon beats The Rings of Power on pirate sites

In a word: Although no longer a widespread phenomenon, piracy continues to generate a significant amount of internet traffic around the world. TV shows like House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings are particularly popular, although the former seems to be much more interesting for P2P pirates.

House of the Dragon and The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power are the two great powerhouses of modern television fantasy drama. Both shows have garnered remarkable viewership on legitimate streaming platforms, but the pirate basement seems to have a particular liking for HBO’s dragon-filled production.

According to official and less official figures, House of the Dragon is on average 29 million viewers per episode. Amazon didn’t provide much data on the LotR prequel, but the company previously said the show’s premiere was watched by 25 million fans. In trying to gauge how the two shows compare in BitTorrent downloads, TorrentFreak has teamed up with I say to examine a large sample of transfers on the P2P network for a few weeks (September 7-21).

According to the numbers offered by I know, House of the Dragon wins the favor of pirate users by a very wide margin: in the given time frame, the GoT prequel recorded over 1.4 million estimated downloads on peak days. In total, HotD amassed over nine million downloads in two weeks.

Compared to HotD, The Rings of Power doesn’t seem to excite BitTorrent users too much. Amazon’s billion-dollar production garnered an estimated total of 650,000 downloads, beating HotD by a small margin shortly after a new episode was released and garnering a total of five million downloads.

When it comes to countries with the most House of the Dragon downloads, data sampled by I Know shows Russia leading the way. This is a sign of the times, given the number of Russian users who are cut off from access to legal services as a result of international sanctions following the invasion of Ukraine. HotD pirate downloads are also quite popular in Brazil, USA, India, UK, South Africa, China, Philippines, Australia, and France.

TorrentFreak points out how public torrent downloads represent only a small fraction of all piracy activity these days, as most users have moved from peer-to-peer sharing to streaming sites whose activity cannot be measured so easily. Scoring HotD’s popularity is an interesting exercise anyway, as Game of Thrones was the most torrented TV show of recent years.

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