The numbers were collected by a company that develops tools to control and monitor digital content piracy, Muso and when compared to Nielsen's for the same period, show that the number of viewers in the HBO series on legal channels was three times, around 17 million.
Piracy and Game of Thrones have long been holding hands – the last episode of Season 7 has been hacked 120 million times in 72 hours – and there are issues that may help explain why, others not so much. The two countries where the episode was most pirated were India and China, with 9.5 and 5.2 million illegal views.
In the first case, the access to the series by legal means will be difficult and in the second theoretically impossible, since it was censored. The third country where the episode was most pirated was the United States, where nearly four million viewers simply chose not to pay for the content.
The data found by Muso also show that the vast majority of illegal views were made from streaming platforms, 12.2% happened from the download of content and 10% from P2P sites.
The company also reveals that although the numbers are not yet closed, Game of Thrones should be back on the list of the most pirated television series of the month, not only because of the season eight premiere but because the run to previous episodes also shot up in the days before the premiere.