2015 was a great year for television, from the introduction of acclaimed new shows like Mr. Robot to the return of old favorites like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead. With so many good series to choose from, it should come as no surprise that the rates of online piracy for TV shows has only has continued to rise this year, sometimes even exceeding the number of traditional viewers in the United States. Below, check out the top five most pirated television series of the year, according to tracking site TorrentFreak:
5. The Flash
Arrow‘s counterpart series on the CW, The Flash, came in at No. 5 on the list of the most pirated television shows of the year. The comic inspired show, which is now in its second season and draws an estimated 4.0 million viewers in the US, was illegally downloaded 3.6 million times this year. That puts it above other popular new shows, like Mr. Robot (which came in at No. 6 on the list) and Supergirl (No. 8 in the ranking).
The CW’s Arrow was the fourth most pirated TV show of the year. According to TorrentFreak, the superhero series, currently in its fourth season, garnered 3.9 million illegal downloads. In proof that piracy is growing at an alarming rate, that number is almost equal to the 3.92 million estimated viewers that Arrow typically attracts with its live airings in the United States.
3. The Big Bang Theory
The popular CBS sitcom has long since been a ratings juggernaut for the network, but it’s proving to be fairly popular among web piraters too. Just one episode of the show’s current eighth season earned 4.4 million downloads, making it the third most pirated series of the year. One potential reason for the show’s online demand? The multitude of milestones that the show reached this season, including Leonard and Penny’s wedding and Sheldon and Amy’s breakup and (physical) makeup.
2. The Walking Dead
The AMC zombie drama may earn higher ratings than Thrones on TV stateside, but it landed as a runner-up to the HBO hit in terms of illegal downloads this year. Per TorrentFreak, The Walking Dead garnered 6.9 million downloads for one episode. With numbers like that, the show easily ranked within the top two of the most pirated television shows of 2015.
1. Game of Thrones
Despite HBO’s best efforts to curb piracy, it seems Game of Thrones remains hugely in demand on the web this year. The fantasy hit has been named the most pirated TV series of the year for the fourth year in a row. According to the piracy tracking site TorrentFreak, the Thrones season 5 finale alone garnered 14.4 million illegal downloads worldwide — more than any other episode of television. With so many viewers downloading just that single episode, it’s no surprise that Thrones easily managed to top other popular series, like The Walking Dead, to become the most downloaded show overall for the year.
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