It looks like “Game of Thrones” fans are taking what is theirs, with fire and blood! Or at least with torrents and good wifi connections. The HBO original series’ third season premiere is officially the most pirated episode of TV ever! Within 24 hours of its first airing on Sunday upwards of one million internet-users illegally downloaded the episode. Additionally, it set a new record for largest BitTorrent swarm ever – more than 163,000 people shared the file at once! The previous record was held by the TV show “Heroes”, with just 144,663 peer-to-peer downloads in 2008. Needless to say, the numbers shown by the “Game of Thrones” premiere are universally shocking.
How does HBO feel about this? Surprisingly, they’re not distressed. Back in February it was reported that one of the show’s directors said that downloads don’t matter, since shows like this thrive mostly due to “cultural buzz” rather than ratings. This is what programming president Michael Lombardo had to say about it to Entertainment Weekly a couple of days ago:
“I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts…The demand is there. And it certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales. [Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network.”
In fact, despite its unbelievable number of downloads, “Game of Thrones” is still the most profitable program that HBO is currently running. Lombardo’s only real concern is that people may not be getting the best quality when they torrent:
“One of my worries is about the copies [downloaders are] seeing…The production values of this show are so incredible. So I’m hoping that in the purloined different generation of cuts that the show is holding up.”
Of course, the official HBO policy is still against piracy as a rule. Specifically, though, their focus is on piracy that involves buying and selling of illegally copied materials. HBO would much rather fans use their online HBO GO service. Although at the moment it’s only accessible to HBO subscribers, the network has hinted at opting for a Netflix-esque digital-only subscription option. The hope is probably that this will reduce pirating of its TV shows, like “Game of Thrones”.
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