HBO is relatively inaccessible in most parts of the world due to the cable subscription paywall and separate subscription just for the channel itself. What this means however is that the channel experiences piracy number like never before seen anywhere in the world. Same goes for the channels most popular show, Game of Thrones, which is often the most pirated TV show of the year, every year.
Hit TV series breaks worldwide piracy records
The popular TV series has been a massive hit for all of the 5 seasons its aired. With dramatic and often unexpected departures from the plot of the book which its based on, the series never fails to pop a surprise or two.
This weekend however, the show broke piracy world records after one of the most talked about episodes in the entire franchise aired. The royal wedding episode was downloaded by an estimated 1.5million people in the first day alone. The record however, is that 193,418 people were sharing a single file of the episode simultaneously therefore trashing the previous record of 171,572 people who shared one copy of the Games of Thrones season three finale simultaneously.
Inasmuch as this seems like a big deal, the fact that HBO already has a streaming platform (HBO Go) in place would suggest that a solution to the problem has been found. That however, overlooks a host of other factors the biggest of which is the fact that HBO is owned by Time Warner Inc who have little or no reason to encourage people to cancel their cable subscription since they can get HBO by itself now. Besides, Time Warner Inc doesn’t really seem to care about the Games of Thrones piracy very much. TimeWarnerInc CEO JeffBewkes gave this summary of the company’s position on the Game of Thrones piracy situation:
“Basically, we’ve been dealing with this issue for years with HBO, literally 20, 30 years, where people have always been running wires down on the back of apartment buildings and sharing with their neighbors,” he said. “Our experience is, it all leads to more penetration, more paying subs, more health for HBO, less reliance on having to do paid advertising… If you go around the world, I think you’re right; Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world. Well, you know, that’s better than an Emmy.”
It is important to note though, that this doesn’t mean HBO doesn’t care about piracy at all. On most (if not all) torrent sites, nearly all HBO shows are commonly flagged and the channel is one of the only few channels that still sends letters about illegal activity to people via their ISP’s.
Media professionals and practitioners have come to embrace piracy as a necessary evil since it can’t completely wipe out movies, TV shows or music just as it cannot be completely eradicated itself.
The Game of Thrones franchise will most likely continue to remain a massive success for the remainder of its life and pirates simply serve as free marketing. Just more people to tell the world how wonderful the show is.
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