The most pirated TV show is back, and HBO doesn't mind
Last night marked the debut of season three of "Game of Thrones", the wildly popular HBO show based on the books by George R. R. Martin. The show generates major publicity and even bigger Internet piracy to go along with that. Thanks to a large, and Internet-savvy, fan base, the fantasy series is the single-most pirated TV show ever. Game of Thrones had one episode downloaded 4.3 million times.
Director David Petrarca already is on record saying he is not concerned by the piracy. But, now, in what feels almost like an April Fool's joke that came a day early, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo stepped up to say he has no problem with the show's status as the top download. Lombardo told Entertainment Weekly that "The demand is there, and it certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales. [Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network".
In fact, Lombardo went on to say his biggest concern was about the quality of the downloaded versions available from the torrent sites -- "The production values of this show are so incredible. So I’m hoping that in the purloined different generation of cuts that the show is holding up".
Last week we heard that HBO GO was looking at ways to part with paid TV services and launch a subscription model. Now the company tacitly supports piracy of popular shows. Perhaps the media company is coming around to a new business model that is more inline with today's digital world.