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

22 hours 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 ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

1 day 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 t ...
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

Modi, Abe strike chord; Kyoto to help make Varanasi smart city (Intro Roundup)
Kyoto, Aug 30 (IANS) Warmth, mutual admiration and convergent views marked the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe Saturday as India hoped the two sides would strive to achieve in five years the unrealised potential of the past five decades.
 
 
Modi, Abe strike chord, India hopes ties reach full potential (Roundup)
Kyoto, Aug 30 (IANS) Warmth, mutual admiration and convergence of views marked the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe Saturday as India hoped the two sides would strive to achieve in five years the unrealised potential of five decades.
 
 
Modi in Japan: Kyoto-Varanasi partnership pact inked
Kyoto, Aug 30 (IANS) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi began a five-day visit to Japan Saturday, a day that saw the inking of a partnership agreement between Varanasi, one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world, and Kyoto, which was the capital of Japan for over 1,000 years.
 
 
Essar sells Kenya telecom business for $120 million
Nairobi, Aug 30 (IANS) Essar Capital Saturday announced the signing of binding agreements with Safaricom and Airtel for the sale of its telecom business in Kenya for $120 million.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Chris O'Dowd doesn't return suits he borrows
Chris O'Dowd doesn't return designer suits he has borrowed for events. The 34-year-old actor tends to keep the posh outfits he is loaned for glamorous awards ceremonies, even after he's promised to give them back....
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Police fire tear gas on protesters in Islamabad
Islamabad, Aug 31 (IANS) Police in the Pakistani capital city fired tear gas shells to disperse thousands of Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) and Pakistani Awami Tehreek (PAT) supporters as they were marching towards the...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Iran criticises US over new sanctions
Tehran, Aug 30 (IANS) Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has criticised the US over new sanctions, terming them "not compatible" with the spirit of current negotiations, BBC reported Saturday. New sanctions on 25 firms...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Syria rebels besiege UN position near Golan Heights
Damascus, Aug 30 (IANS) Armed militant groups Saturday besieged a position of the UN peacekeepers in Syria's Qunaitera province, bordering the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights, a media report said. Armed fighters of the...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Modi, Abe strike chord; Kyoto to help make Varanasi smart city (Intro Roundup)
Kyoto, Aug 30 (IANS) Warmth, mutual admiration and convergent views marked the meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe Saturday as India hoped the two sides would strive to...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Sindhu loses in semis, settles for bronze
Copenhagen, Aug 30 (IANS) India's P.V. Sindhu had to be content with the bronze as Spaniard Carolina Marin proved the better shuttler on the day, winning the women's singles semi-final quite easily in straight games at...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Third ODI scoreboard: India vs England
Nottingham, Aug 30 (IANS) The following is the scoreboard of the third One-Day International (ODI) between India and England at Trent Bridge here Saturday. England: Alastair Cook st Dhoni b Rayudu 44 Alex Hales c...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Liam Payne and Niall Horan: 'Cow poo' reminds us of home
One Direction's Liam Payne and Niall Horan have admitted ''cow poo'' reminds them of home. The 'Little Things' hitmakers start to feel nostalgic when they get a whiff of manure whilst they're away touring with their...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Sindhu goes down in semis, settles for bronze
Copenhagen, Aug 30 (IANS) India's P.V. Sindhu went down in the women's singles semi-final and had to settle for the bronze, losing to Spanish ninth seed Carolina Marin in straight games of the World Badminton...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
India outclass England to take 2-0 unassailable lead
Nottingham, Aug 30 (IANS) India beat England by six wickets in the third One-Day International (ODI) at Trent Bridge here Saturday, taking an unassailable 2-0 lead in the five-match series. After the first ODI was...
Read more on Sport Balla