The first episode of Game of Thrones, the multi-million dollar production from HBO, aired in the US on April 18th. Less than 90 minutes after its broadcast, pirated copies appeared on popular file-sharing sites such as Torrentz.com and The Piratebay. Just 4 hours after airing, 30,000 users were downloading the show. A sample of IP addresses downloading the show revealed 9-15 per cent were from Australia.
In the UK, the first episode of Game of Thrones set a ratings record for Sky’s new Sky Atlantic channel. The show averaged 743,000 viewers between 9pm and 10.10pm, with a peak of 823,000. The show was deliberately aired one day after US release to discourage piracy.