Undoubtedly one of the most popular as well as the most pirated shows on television for the past three years, "Game of Thrones" premiered its latest season -- Season 5 -- with a big bang last weekend.
Amidst all the controversies, especially the one revolving around the leaked episodes, the show managed to set yet another record, proving that no amount of illegal downloads or illicit leaks can stop them.
After its fifth season began last Sunday, users of a Twitter-owned live-streaming app shared the fantasy drama. HBO, which was obviously already displeased with the leak of press screeners for the first four episodes (almost half of the season), said on Tuesday that it sent "take down" notices to Periscope, the app that allows video streaming from users' phones to their Twitter followers.
Twitter, which recently acquired Periscope, said the app complies with US copyright law and will respond to valid take-down requests. HBO indirectly chided Periscope, saying in a statement that app developers should have tools to "proactively prevent mass copyright infringement" and not rely solely on being notified after such incidents occur.
Neither HBO nor Twitter had further comment on the issue.
But it appears that the incident has not hurt the show's undefeated ratings. Bearing a tag of being popular among both pirates and viewers, "Game of Thrones"' Season 5 launch broke the previous records with 7.99 million legitimate viewers. That's despite more than 1 million people pirating the first four episodes by the morning of the premiere. The previous series best was the season four finale, which drew 7.1 million viewers.
The initial airing of the show was watched by almost 8 million viewers, which is up 1.16 million (17%) from last year's record, according to Variety. This pattern mirrors that of another cable genre hit, "The Walking Dead," which also has consistently broken its own audience records year after year.