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

 
 
 

27 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

8 weeks 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 wor ...
Source: Business Times Singapore   Full article at: Business Times Singapore
 

 
Update
1

8 weeks 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 tragedi ...
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

World Bank approves $75 mn for pastoralists in Horn of Africa
Nairobi, Oct 26 (IANS) The World Bank has approved an additional credit of $75 million to improve the livelihoods and resilience of pastoralists in the Horn of Africa.
 
 
Slovakia to provide further financial help in fighting Ebola
Bratislava, Oct 26 (IANS) Slovakia planned to provide some 90,000 euros ($114,000) to countries affected by Ebola to help with the construction of field hospitals, foreign ministry said Saturday.
 
 
Mauritania closes border with Mali after Ebola death
Nouakchott, Oct 26 (IANS) Mauritania has closed its border with Mali after an Ebola death was confirmed in the border area this week, a health official said Saturday.
 
 
Number of Ebola cases crosses 10,000: WHO
Geneva, Oct 25 (IANS/EFE) The World Health Organisation (WHO) confirmed Saturday that the number of Ebola cases has risen to more than 10,000 in the eight affected countries, two of which, Nigeria and Senegal, had recently been declared free of the virus.
 
 
 

Latest from the Network

Second MERS case reported in Qatar
Doha, Oct 23 (IANS) A 43-year-old man in Qatar has tested positive for Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS) in the second confirmed case of the deadly virus in 10 days, media reported Thursday. The patient had...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Two people die in Pakistan bomb blast
Islamabad, Oct 23 (IANS) At least two people were killed and 12 others injured in an explosion that took place in Pakistan's Balochistan province Thursday, media reported. The bomb was planted on a motorcycle, Dawn...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Trott extends contract with Warwickshire till 2017
London, Oct 23 (IANS) England batsman Jonathan Trott, whose mental issues led to his abrupt departure from last winter's Ashes tour, has confirmed his successful comeback to competitive cricket by signing a new three-...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Srikanth, Kashyap big movers in BWF rankings
Kuala Lumpur, Oct 23 (IANS) Indian men shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap jumped seven places each in the latest Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings released Thursday while Olympic bronze medallist...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Alvin Stardust dead
London, Oct 23 (IANS) English singer Alvin Stardust died after a short illness. He was 72. Stardust's manager confirmed the news about his demise Thursday, reports mirror.co.uk. He was recently diagnosed with...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
 
Indian man reunited with family after 40 years
Dubai, Oct 23 (IANS) An Indian man, who had disappeared from his hometown in Kerala nearly 40 years ago, has been found by his family at a hospital in Dubai in the UAE, a newspaper report said. Now in his 60s, Abdulla...
Read more on Politics Balla
 
Srikanth, Kashyap, Saina rise in world rankings
Kala Lumpur, Oct 23 (IANS) Indian men shuttlers Kidambi Srikanth and Parupalli Kashyap jumped seven places each in the latest released Badminton World Federation (BWF) rankings Thursday while Olympic bronze medallist...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
Flintoff signs for Big Bash side Brisbane Heat
Brisbane, Oct 23 (IANS) Former England captain and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff, who retired from international cricket in 2009, Wednesday confirmed that he will play for Brisbane Heat in the Big Bash League (BBL) this...
Read more on Sport Balla
 
OPEC daily basket price falls again
Vienna, Oct 23 (IANS/WAM) The basket of 12 crude oils of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) closed at $81.94 a barrel Wednesday compared to $82.09 Tuesday, the OPEC Secretariat said. The new OPEC...
Read more on Business Balla
 
Lopez to sign multi-million dollar deal?
Los Angeles, Oct 23 (IANS) Singer-actress Jennifer Lopez is reportedly in the final stages of securing a multi-million dollar deal to perform in Las Vegas. The 45-year-old is being offered $350,000 per show at The...
Read more on Celebrity Balla