360° Coverage : 'Game of Thrones' Sets Piracy World Record, But Does...

2 Updates
'Game of Thrones' Sets Piracy World Record, But Does HBO Care?
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

'Game of Thrones' Sets Piracy World Record, But Does HBO Care?

Apr 15 2014, 10:17am CDT | by

Due to the relative inaccessibility of HBO in most parts of the world, hidden behind a cable subscription paywall, then a separate subscription just for the channel itself, the channel sees piracy...

Filed under: news

 
 
 

19 weeks ago

'Game of Thrones' Sets Piracy World Record, But Does HBO Care?

Apr 15 2014, 10:17am CDT | by

Due to the relative inaccessibility of HBO in most parts of the world, hidden behind a cable subscription paywall, then a separate subscription just for the channel itself, the channel sees piracy rates like no other. That’s especially true for its most popular show, Game of Thrones, which is usually the most pirated program of the year, every year.

But this weekend, the show broke a piracy world record after one of the most talked about episodes ever aired. Everyone wanted to see what all the fuss was about at the royal wedding (no spoilers here), and as such, the episode was downloaded 1.5 million people downloaded the episode in the first day. The record? That 193,418 were sharing a single file of the episode simultaneously. The previous record was 171,572 people sharing one copy of the Game of Thrones season three finale.

So, this seems like a pretty big deal, and the fact that HBO already has a streaming service in place, HBO Go, would indicate that a solution to this problem is obvious. HBO should unlock Go from the need to have a cable subscription. $15 a month gets you unlimited access to all their programming, and no need to order 300 other channels you couldn’t care less about.

That’s the utopic view of the situation, but unfortunately it overlooks many important factors. The biggest one is that HBO is owned by Time Warner Cable, a cable company. They have little reason to encourage people to cancel their cable after they can get HBO by itself. Furthermore, they really don’t seem to care about Game of Thrones piracy much at all. Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes explains:

“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.”

When you see these sorts of record-breaking piracy numbers, it’s easy to think the end is nigh and HBO will wave the white flag. But I’ve written about this in the past. Even if piracy still exists, the war is essentially won. Most companies have realized that a pirated download does not automatically equal a lost sale. Many of these pirates wouldn’t subscribe to HBO Go even if it was standalone, as piracy is still easy and free. As such, the small number of converts wouldn’t be worth cutting ties between HBO and cable.

Not to say HBO doesn’t care about piracy at all. On torrent sites, HBO shows are constantly flagged and they’re one of the only channels that still sends people letters via their ISPs about illegal activity. I never hear about anyone getting actually fined or sued for piracy, but it’s clear they’re not completely rolling over.

And I won’t say that HBO will never release Go on its own. They’ve already experimented with doing so in some regions, experiments that are still ongoing, and it’s pretty clear to everyone that the bloated cable model is dying a (far too slow) death. It will not be around forever, and HBO is ahead of the game by at least already having a (mostly) functional streaming service like Go that can be spun-off when the time comes for TWC to throw in the towel.

But for now, Game of Thrones suffers an “acceptable” level of piracy that doesn’t really hurt the bottom line for HBO or Time Warner. As I said in my popular piece “You Will Never Kill Piracy, and Piracy Will Never Kill You,” it’s impossible for one side to completely wipe out the other. Piracy will never be stopped entirely, but neither will piracy take down the movie, television, music or video game industry. It’s just not possible. The “winners” of the piracy war have learned to simply ignore it for the most part, or even embrace it as HBO claims to.

Game of Thrones will be a massive success for likely its entire lifespan, and pirates serve as free marketing, just another group to tell the world how awesome the show is.

Follow me on Twitter, subscribe to my Forbes blog, and pick up a copy of my sci-fi novel, The Last Exodus, and its sequel, The Exiled Earthborn.

 
Update
2

3 days ago

Khazanah throws MAS RM6b lifeline

Aug 29 2014 5:01pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 30, 2014 1:15 AMKHAZANAH Nasional will inject RM6 billion (SS$2.4 billion) over three years to resuscitate loss-making Malaysia Airlines (MAS) under a recovery plan that includes even an Act of Parliament. Other key moves are migrating its operations, assets and liabilities to a new company (NewCo) and slashing the workforce of 20,000 by 30 per ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

4 days ago

MAS posts loss of RM307m for Q2

Aug 28 2014 5:00pm CDT | Source: Business Times Singapore

August 29, 2014 1:13 AMMALAYSIA Airlines (MAS) registered a loss of RM307 million (S$122 million) for the second quarter to end-June, but warned of worse to come in the second half when the "full financial impact of the double ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 

Don't miss ...

 

<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.

 

blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Nigeria to get Japanese drug for Ebola treatment
Abuja, Sep 2 (IANS) Nigeria will soon get a Japanese drug to treat Ebola, the country's Health Minister Onyebuchi Chukwu said Monday.
 
 
Japan to aid connectivity upgrade in northeast India
Tokyo, Sep 1 (IANS) India and Japan Monday decided to strengthen cooperation for improving connectivity and socio-economic development in northeastern states of India.
 
 
Three Ebola cases recorded in Nigeria oil hub
Abuja, Sep 1 (IANS) At least three cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) have been recorded in Nigeria's oil hub of Port Harcourt, where a fatality was confirmed last week, the country's Minister of Health Onyebuchi Chukwu said here Monday.
 
 
India, Japan to elevate strategic partnership
Tokyo, Sep 1 (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra Modi Monday said relations with Japan were of the "highest priority" for his government and announced a slew of initiatives, including turning the strategic partnership into a "special" partnership and a fast-track channel for Japanese investors.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Rebels, Syrian forces clash near Golan Heights
Cairo, Sep 2 (IANS/EFE) Islamic rebels clashed with the Syrian forces near Israeli-controlled Golan Heights Monday, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said. The observatory, in a statement, said that fighting...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Kelly Brook suffered second miscarriage
London, Sep 2 (IANS) Actress-model Kelly Brook has revealed that she suffered a second miscarriage while dating Thom Evans. The 34-year-old and the former rugby star lost their first child May 6, 2011 when Brook gave...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Russia may retaliate against fresh EU sanctions
Moscow, Sep 2 (IANS/EFE) Russia will take retaliatory measures to defend its legitimate interests if the European Union imposes new sanctions over Moscow's intervention in Ukraine, the country's foreign ministry said...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Britney Spears looking forward to dating
Britney Spears is looking forward dating again. The 32-year-old singer admitted during her 'Piece of Me' show at the Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas yesterday (08.31.14) that she's excited about meeting someone new...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Lindsay Lohan seeks hypnosis to quit smoking
Lindsay Lohan has reportedly been undergoing hypnotherapy to help her give up smoking. The 28-year-old actress has turned to psychotherapy in the hope of kicking her nicotine addiction before she performs in 'Speed-the...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Ian Somerhalder and Nikki Reed spend $860 in sex shop
Ian Somerhalder and Nikki Reed allegedly spent nearly $1,000 in a sex shop yesterday (08.31.14). The new couple, who have been dating for the past few months, reportedly forked out $860 on a number of erotic toys -...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Robin Williams' daughter returns to Twitter
Robin Williams' daughter has returned to Twitter. Zelda Williams posted her first tweet on the social networking site tonight (01.09.14) almost three weeks after she abandoned her account when she received abusive...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Is Miley Cyrus dating Douglas Booth?
Los Angeles, Sep 2 (IANS) Pop star Miley Cyrus and British actor Douglas Booth are reportedly dating. The "Wrecking Ball" hitmaker was first rumoured to be romancing Booth in 2010 when they co-starred in teen drama "...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
UN chief alarmed by Israeli claim on West Bank land
United Nations, Sep 2 (IANS) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon Monday expressed alarm at the Israeli declaration of a 400 hectares area in the West bank as "state land". "The secretary-general is alarmed by yesterday's...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Three executed in Yemen for having US links
Aden, Sep 2 (IANS) Three people have been executed by militants in Yemen Monday for having links with the United States, a military source said. "Suspected Yemen-based Al Qaida operatives kidnapped three local...
Read more on Politics Balla