In short: While piracy is no longer a widespread phenomenon, it continues to drive a significant portion of Internet traffic around the world. TV shows like House of the Dragon and Lord of the Rings are particularly popular, although the former seem 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 TV fantasy drama. Both shows have amassed notable viewership on legitimate streaming platforms, but the pirate underground seems to have a particular fondness for HBO’s dragon-filled production.
According to official and unofficial figures, House of the Dragon averages 29 million viewers per episode. Amazon hasn’t offered much data on the LotR prequel, but the company previously stated that the show’s premiere was seen by 25 million fans. TorrentFreak has teamed up with I Know to assess how the two shows fare on BitTorrent downloads to watch a wide range of broadcasts on the P2P network over a couple of weeks (September 7th – 21st).
According to numbers provided by I Know, House of the Dragon is winning the favor of pirate users by a wide margin: In the given timeframe, the GoT prequel recorded more than 1.4 million estimated downloads on peak days. In total, HotD collected over nine million downloads in two weeks.
Compared to HotD, The Rings of Power doesn’t seem to excite BitTorrent users that much. Amazon’s multi-billion dollar production amassed a total of 650,000 estimated downloads, beating HotD by a small margin shortly after the release of a new episode, amassing five million total downloads.
As for the countries with the most House of the Dragon downloads, the data collected by I Know shows that Russia is at the top. It’s a sign of the times considering how much Russian users have been cut off from access to legal services by 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 that public torrent downloads now account for only a small fraction of all piracy activity, as most users have switched from peer-to-peer sharing to streaming sites whose activity cannot be easily measured. Evaluating HotD’s popularity is an interesting exercise anyway, since Game of Thrones has been the most shared TV show via torrents in recent years.
https://www.techspot.com/news/96101-house-dragon-beats-rings-power-pirate-sites.html House of the Dragon beats The Rings of Power on pirate sites