Hack Numbers Highlight House of the Dragon and Rings of Power’s Fantasy Face-Off

There’s one ring to rule them all, but when it comes to television, there are two big fantasy series that rule the piracy viewership.

HBO’s first Game of Thrones spin-off, House of the Dragon, and Prime Video’s JRR Tolkien-inspired series, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, both enjoyed massive audiences during their premieres. respective beginnings. House of the Dragon reached nearly 10 million viewers when it premiered on August 21 alone, with the first episode reaching around 25 million viewers in its first week. Similarly, Rings of Power, which debuted September 1 with two episodes, reached 25 million viewers on its first day, the biggest premiere in Prime Video history.

But in today’s streaming world, viewership numbers are hard to come by and often only self-reported. House of the Dragon no longer releases official viewership figures before the finale, and Rings of Power has not released additional viewership data since its premiere.

However, data analytics firm MUSO offers a different perspective on the battle for viewership, and House of the Dragon appears to have an early advantage in one regard.

MUSO tracks global piracy and consumption of unlicensed media, giving clients insight into the true audience their content is capturing and working with advertising agencies and partners to reach this market, focusing on content protection, audience measurement and monetization.

CEO Andy Chatterley told Adweek that the company measures piracy on 388,000 TV and movie titles on the torrent network and unlicensed streaming websites. Since the first six months of 2022, the company has tracked more than 105 billion visits to hacking websites, and TV consumption accounts for 47.1% of its total number.

The data analytics company does not share specific numbers of downloads and streams to protect customer privacy. Still, it shed light on the online demand for House of the Dragon and Rings of Power since their respective releases.

Comparing the first seven days of House of the Dragon Episode 1 and Rings of Power Episode 1, House of the Dragon had 45% more piracy than Rings of Power on a combined view of torrent downloads and license-free streaming. For episode 2 of both shows, House of the Dragon had 127% more piracy.

“What that tells me is that the demand, compared to Rings of Power, has kind of dropped off in terms of popularity and demand for [House of the Dragon]“, Chatterley told Adweek.

But although House of the Dragon Episode 2 surpasses Rings of Power Episode 2 for demand, both dominate pirated TV content.

From September 6-12, a period after both shows launched, House of the Dragon had a 38.1% share of the top 10 most pirated TV shows on torrent networks, and Rings of Power had 25.3%. . Together, shows accounted for 63.4% of television piracy consumption.

Of course, piracy measures only part of the demand for a series, without considering linear viewership, paid subscriber streaming, or even distribution. For example, Rings of Power reached over 240 territories for its debut. In March, HBO Max announced that it was available in 61 territories.

A big disparity in cast like this could contribute to House of the Dragon having more hacking appeal overall.

For example, the United States was the No. 1 country for piracy demand on torrents and unlicensed streaming websites for both series from their premiere dates through September 7, accounting for 16.3% of the hack for House of the Dragon and 15.9% for Rings of Power. However, France was second on the list for the House of the Dragon hack and fifth for Rings of Power. HBO Max is not available in France, but Prime Video is.

The top five countries for House of the Dragon piracy are, in order, the United States, France, the United Kingdom, Canada, and Germany. For Rings of Power, these are the United States, Turkey, United Kingdom, Canada and France.

MUSO also noted that each show seemed to garner a lot of interest before their debut, which translated to increased piracy for Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films and HBO’s Game of Thrones series. According to MUSO, each franchise had similar consumption curves, peaking around San Diego Comic-Con weekend in July as trailers and news for House of the Dragon and Rings of Power were released online. .

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