Game of Thrones is one of the most-popular shows in the world, and its fans are some of the savviest. That’s why it remains TV’s most-pirated program. (Also, viewers don’t want to pay the money for HBO.)
Two seasons ago, the network was forced to deal with a frustrating and fairly-catastrophic leak, one that spilled out the first four episodes of the show online. Days ago HBO suffered a hack that led to some details coming out about the episode 4 script; now a separate hack of Star India (an international broadcaster for the show) led to the entire episode (entitled “Spoils of War”) being posted online.
Is there anything that HBO can do about this? To an extent, sure. They can place some of the strongest security measures out there, do their part to take down videos quickly, and try to pursue harsh legal action. However, in some ways, they’re fighting an impossible battle with people all over the world. It’s a good problem to have that your show is so popular that people want to steal it; you just hope that in the process, the actions don’t hurt the bottom line all that much.
In this instance, we do think that HBO doesn’t have all that much to worry about. Diehard Game of Thrones fans are the sort who want to sit down in front of their 4K television and watch/stream the show in the best possible quality and sound. Do they really want to sit around and watch some lower-quality version on their computer or tablet? What do they really get out of watching the episode two days early other than bragging to their friends? A significant part of the fun of this show comes out of the community viewing, of being able to sit down with your friends and checking out a new episode of the show together. What piracy does is minimize your own viewing enjoyment for the sake of instant gratification.
One episode hopefully doesn’t damage the network or Game of Thrones all that much. However, that sentiment changes dramatically if the finale is leaked or a larger batch of episodes. Then, it gets to the point where viewers can find those as opposed to buying a month of HBO to watch. That’s why they have to treat every leak as an enormous deal, even if we personally believe that one episode coming out a few days before it airs will not be a significant blow to the bottom line.
Now, your thoughts
What do you think: Are the Game of Thrones leaks a huge deal for HBO? Do you think most diehard viewers bother with them? Share now in the comments!
Meanwhile, be sure to head over to the link here to get some additional news when it comes to the series, and that includes some full episode reviews and previews for what is coming up ahead. (Photo: HBO.)