Foxtel’s Game of Thrones has once again proved the most popular illegally downloaded television show on the internet, but Nine and Seven both have shows in the top three most torrented of the last three months.

Game of Thrones, made by US cable broadcaster HBO, has claimed the dubious honour of top spot on a list of the 10 most downloaded shows for the North American spring, as ranked by online measurement site TorrentFreak.

With an average per-episode download rate that is almost double that of the show in second place, the table demonstrates that Game of Thrones’ popularity among downloaders is also disproportionate to its “traditional” television ratings both here and in the US. This may be due in part to only being broadcast on upper tier subscription television channels – ShowCase in Australia and HBO in North America – which require viewers to pay an additional fee on top of the basic subscription rate.

The table below estimates the number of downloads per episode for each show from March to June. The Big Bang Theory ranked second on the list, justifying its go-to status as a ratings workhorse for the Nine Network, while How I Met Your Mother’s third place would indicate that Seven could potentially use that sitcom, which has one season remaining, in the same way.

With near identical download figures, the table would seem to lend some merit to Nine’s case for fast-tracking The Big Bang Theory onto our screens, while Seven provide How I Met Your Mother on delay of several months. Though The Big Bang Theory is almost twice as popular in traditional ratings, the download figures would indicate that many potential illegal viewers are watching the former legally.

Seven and Nine should also note the popularity of new shows Hannibal and Arrow among downloaders, with the two making up three of the first season shows to make the top 10, alongside Vikings, an historical drama that airs on the Bio channel in the US.

Though illegal downloading of programs is clearly both popular and prolific, Game of Thrones ratio of almost 1:1 downloads to television viewers in North America is exceptional, and confirms that show’s unique popularity online. Modern Family proves to be the most traditional broadcast ‘friendly’ show on the list, with more than seven times as many viewers as downloaders, with The Big Bang Theory delivering a similar ratio.

Most downloaded TV shows on BitTorrent, per episode, North American Spring 2013The original release of this article first appeared on the website of Hangzhou Night Net.

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