Game of Thrones is a pretty popular show. It’s arguably more popular than HBO itself, which presents a problem for the company.
That’s because the show’s devoted fans seem to have no qualms about pirating episodes to get their fix.
And even if you haven’t done it yourself, it’s pretty much guaranteed that someone you know has watched the entire series without paying a penny.
So how does a huge company like HBO come to grips with all that sweet cash slipping through its fingers for a global blockbuster show?
One question they are probably very interested in: how does the problem vary by region?
A project called alpha60 studies BitTorrent traffic worldwide in an attempt to gain insight into the underlying patterns behind everyone’s favourite illegal pastime.
By tracking over seventy torrents that went online after the release of the recent Season 7 premiere, alpha60 is now offering a fascinating insight into the aggregate habits of the world’s community of Game of Thrones pirates.
And yes, they are everywhere. You can even watch a time-lapse of download intensity in this nice little video that alpha60 put together to make us all feel guilty for not watching the show through traditional methods:
By tracking BitTorrent swarms and analysing them into geographical regions using IP addresses, they were able to reveal how piracy varies by location and the time of day.
One big insight: the world champion of illegally downloading Game of Thrones turns out to be Seoul, South Korea. Some other big winners of this dubious honour: Toronto, Sao Paolo, and Athens each had a strong showing in the pirating sweepstakes.
So how much of this is reflective of culture or local attitudes towards downloading, and how much is just to do with restrictive copyright laws? It’s impossible to say at this point. But it’s not unlikely that alpha60’s report will figure prominently in efforts by lobbyists to tighten up legal restrictions in areas that showed high rates of piracy.
The top Aussie city to be caught? Brisbane. If you want to watch the show properly in Australia, here’s how.
If you’re not too busy watching the latest episode, read the report in full here.