Despite some patchy critical reactions (which were at least partly down to hipster contrarians and perpetual miserablists), Game Of Thrones season 7 was hugely successful. It was viewed live by more than 70 million fans in the US (according to official figures), with countless more around the world and on repeat showings.
It was a record-breaking season for a lot of the right reasons, but unfortunately, it was also one of the most pirated shows of all time. The precedent was set early when the season premiere was pirated a reported 90 million times in the first three days after it aired, and that was a drop in the ocean according to new figures.
According to a report from TorrentFreak (via Screen Crush), data piracy firm MUSO has estimated that each of season seven's episodes were pirated an astronomical 140 million times each across streaming services and private torrents. That amounts to about a billion views in total, which has got to sting.
Part of the problem, of course came with both ‘The Spoils of War’ and ‘Beyond The Wall’ accidentally leaked by people working within the company itself (or its partners). Considering the threat posed by HBO's leakers, it must be particularly jarring that they didn't end up needing to do anything to get the episodes out there.
Still, the season still garnered the show's highest ratings and more than ever before it felt like the most talked about show of the TV calendar. And while HBO won't be happy with the billion figure, it's indicative of a positive perception of the show. Now they just need to make sure they don't accidentally stream the entirety of season 8 before it's supposed to air.