Game of Thrones is the most pirated tv show of 2015
Published 29/12/2015 | 08:12
Game of Thrones has become the most pirated television programme for a fourth year in a row - with at least 14.5m illegal downloads in 2015.
The hit fantasy drama series, which features several Irish actors and is filmed partly in the North, had more downloads this year via BitTorrent than the second and third most-watched programmes combined.
The Walking Dead had 6.9m downloads, followed by The Big Bang Theory, which was downloaded 4.4m times.
More than half of the downloads occurred in the first week after Game of Thrones aired.
The show - starring Dubliner Aidan Gillen - broke an all-time piracy record earlier this year when almost 260,000 people shared the same torrent file simultaneously.
The staggering statistics were revealed by the online file sharing publication TorrentFreak this week.
The data doesn't take into account other torrent services or views through illegal streaming sites, so the true numbers are believed to be far higher. The show's director previously spoke of how the series may tone down its content after a backlash from viewers over a depiction of sexual violence.
Jeremy Podeswa, who has directed two episodes - and is expected to helm more this season - has revealed the unease felt by the show's creators.
Mr Podeswa said they "were responsive to the discussion and there were a couple of things that changed as a result".
"It is important that (the producers) not self-censor.
"The show depicts a brutal world where horrible things happen. They did not want to be too overly influenced by that (criticism) but they did absorb and take it in and it did influence them," he said.