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The Game of Thrones continues to be popular among viewers, with many watching through legal means - and plenty of users relying on streaming websites and illegal downloads.
In just eight hours, there were 1.5 million downloads, which set a new piracy record. The piracy figure shouldn't take too long to reach 10 million, with interested viewers turning to torrents and other ways to download. The 480p version is currently most popular, with more downloads ahead of 720p and 1080p versions of the season finale.
"Never before have we seen this many downloads in such a short period of time, and last year it took half a day to reach the same number," according to TorrentFreak. "Based on this figure, the download count is expected to increase to more than 10 million during the days to come."
Netflix wants people to watch Orange is the New Black, but not on piracy websites that are hosted in countless countries. The Silicon Valley company is trying to find ways to improve SEO and point users towards Netflix, instead of finding the streams elsewhere on the Internet.
Unfortunately for Netflix, it looks like it's extremely easy to use Google, Yahoo, and other search engines to find illegal streams of the hit series. Recently, Orange is the New Black was the No. 4 most searched for term on Google, and chances are extremely high that plenty of Internet users found their way to third-party sites.
How serious of an issue is piracy for Netflix? It's the top competitor in terms of content providers, as the online video service fights for more paying subscribers.
The fight against Internet piracy apparently isn't going well for copyright holders, and "legislation is pushing people to steal," said Andrus Ansip, Vice President for the Digital Single Market for the European Commission. Speaking during Midem, Ansip believes providing content across the EU - and educating users about legal options - are two critical steps that must be addressed.
The EU's recently adopted Digital Single Market strategy will hopefully end geo-blocking among EU nations, while consumers can legally purchase more content. The removal of geo-blocking will make it legal for 100 million Europeans to access content they own in other countries - a major development, with Europeans taking more than 270 million cross-border trips that last at least one night.
"Today, we don't have a Digital Single Market in the European Union," Ansip said.
The NFL is broadening its horizons a bit by expanding to live streaming, and will partner with Yahoo to get the job done. Yahoo won a bidding process and the first live streamed game will be the Buffalo Bills vs. Jacksonville Jaguars, scheduled for Oct. 25 in London. It's unknown which companies Yahoo outbid, but it's likely Google's YouTube service was one of them.
Even though cord cutting has become more prevalent in recent years, many subscribers don't abandon their cable or satellite service due to live sports. However, sports leagues in the United States are beginning to embrace online video - but the NFL is notorious for blacking out local teams from streaming services, forcing football fans to keep some type of subscription.
"We're thrilled that the NFL has chosen Yahoo for this historic opportunity," said Marissa Mayer, CEO of Yahoo, in a public statement. "It marks a significant change in the way users can access this amazing content."
Netflix is a streaming service that requires viewers pay a monthly subscription, and has been careful to keep ads away from members. However, the company is reportedly interested in displaying movie trailers prior to streaming some programs, according to reports.
The idea of third-party ads on Netflix obviously isn't making many subscribers happy - despite it being a long rumored possibility - as the US company is increasing members, but struggling to boost its net profit.
"We are not planning to test or implement third-party advertising on the Netflix service," according to a statement published by BBC. "For some time, we've teased Netflix originals with short trailers after a member finishes watching a show. Some members in a limited test now are seeing teases before a show begins. We test hundreds of potential improvements to the service every year. Many never extend beyond that."
I guess it should be no surprise to anyone that online video consumption continues to take over the Internet, gobbling up even more Internet traffic. It looks like Netflix remains dominant, racking up almost 37 percent of downstream traffic, with HBO Go and HBO Now also accounting for 4.1 percent of traffic on a US fixed network.
"Netflix continues to slowly increase its domination of North American fixed networks, accounting for 36.5% of downstream traffic in the peak evening hours," according to the Sandvine Global Internet Phenomena Report.
Meanwhile, BitTorrent traffic captured 6.3 percent of North American broadband network traffic, though is reportedly slowing. Sandvine collects information generated by traffic that passes through its networks, and has been applauded for increasing accuracy.
Spotify, the leading streaming music subscription service, is expanding by adding video clips and audio shows - allowing its users to listen to news, take in a podcast, or watch some video clips. The service will recommend video and audio shows for users, and will adapt so it can recommend future content.
Content from ESPN, ABC, BBC, Adult Swim, Comedy Central, Maker Studios, TBS, TED, Vice News and NBCUniversal, and other broadcast partners will be made available.
"We're bringing you a deeper, richer, more immersive Spotify experience," said Daniel Ek, founder and CEO of Spotify. "We want Spotify to help soundtrack your life by offering an even wider world of entertainment with an awesome mix of the best music, podcasts and video delivered to you throughout the day. And we're just getting started."
AT&T will provide subscribers with Hulu on its websites and mobile apps starting before the end of 2015, in an effort to fight off Verizon - and hopefully convince customers not to cut the cord. There are more than six million subscribers to the AT&T U-verse TV service, and bringing the Hulu app to TV is a good sign for subscribers.
"We know that our customers want to be able to access video on multiple devices," said Andrew Goodman, associate VP of content acquisition at AT&T, in a press statement. "So we're excited to be able to expand our relationship with Hulu and make its innovative and vast video selections available to AT&T customers on multiple screens."
AT&T and Hulu already had a distribution plan for free streaming content, but this new agreement is focused on the premium subscription content. Hulu is trying to create new business partnerships to keep up with Netflix, the No. 1 online TV and movie service, and hopes new agreements can help close the gap.
Spotify has taken over the streaming music world, and the company is reportedly trying to expand into online video, according to a recent Wall Street Journal report. Spotify has approached a few different digital media companies, gauging interest in partnerships, in an effort to launch created material and acquire videos.
Time Inc, Maker Studios, Fullscreen and Tastemade are speaking with Spotify, with a possible announcement coming as soon as May 20.
"So many companies have doubled down in this space that differentiation and monetization are going to be increasingly difficult," said Paul Verna, analyst at eMarketer, in a statement to WSJ. Verna believes Pandora, one of Spotify's numerous rivals in the streaming music business, could also try for a streaming video service.
Saturday night will feature one of the most anticipated boxing matches in recent history - and that will bring with it a likelihood of major Internet piracy. HBO and Showtime already prevented two piracy websites from showing the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight, but there will be plenty of other illegal options for viewers.
"This could be one of the biggest live-streamed events, at least from the piracy side," said Ernesto Van der Sar, founder of TorrentFreak, in a statement to NBC News. "I think it will be bigger than the Super Bowl and the World Cup."
The standard definition pay-per-view will be $89.99, while the high-definition PPV will cost a whopping $99.99. Restaurants and bars have to invest thousands for the right to broadcast the fight, so a smaller number of establishments plan to air the fight, or pricing rather outrageous cover charges.