HBO’s Game of Thrones was the most pirated show on television in 2012 with reason. The award-winning series is extremely compelling, even addictive to watch. Several cast members recently spoke to the BBC out about the “backhanded compliment” of downloading. And HBO has responded.
From the three interviews in this BBC segment, you get the sense that actors Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister), Rose Leslie (Ygritte), and John Bradley (Samwell Tarly) are thrilled that their show is so beloved–and concerned that downloading will negatively impact funding to fuel the show. Their concerns are justified: TorrentFreak writes that one episode alone has been downloaded over 4.25 million times.
TorrentFreak says there’s a reason for all of this guilty pleasure: “One of the prime reasons for the popularity [of Game of Thrones] among pirates is the international delay in airing.”
With this in mind, HBO will simply make the show more available.
According to Jeff Cusson, HBO’s senior vice president of corporate affairs, “We think the key to combating piracy is to make content like Game of Thrones available worldwide within the smallest window possible…to 176 territories within the week of the U.S. premiere.”
Cusson said, “HBO is also rolling out HBO Go internationally,” which means many viewers in Europe, Latin America, and in other locations like Hong Kong can watch Game of Thrones at their leisure on their iPad/iPhone, Roku, Xbox 360s, their Android devices, and selected Samsung Smart HDTVs.
Although this may help prevent international downloading, it does little to address piracy on our home shores. Without subscribing to HBO—a non-standard channel that costs more on top of your pricey cable package—the show is harder to get hold of than a virtuous main character.
Game of Thrones is again out of arm’s reach for people without expensive smart phones (and data plans), as well as HBO Go’s other add-on devices. Although HBO has released Game of Thrones on iTunes and DVD/Blu-Ray, the show doesn’t arrive for months after its initial release. (Although season 2 ended in June 3, 2012, it wasn’t released on DVD/Blu-Ray until February 19, 2013.)
When asked about the prevalence of piracy in America, Cusson said, “We utilized various tools to protect our copyright in 2012.” I countered that they didn’t work, because it was still the most downloaded show that year. Cusson responded, “We think the success of our business shows that our approach is relatively successful.”
Game-rs of Thrones who don’t wish to pirate season 3 can experience the show the old-fashioned way…by inviting yourselves over to HBO-enabled friends’ houses and watch it together. Of course, it’s all on you to bring the Dornish wine.
But until HBO makes the show more quickly available on iTunes, the actors can expect to be further backhandedly complimented.
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