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‘Game of Thrones’ continues to set piracy records despite HBO Now

HBO thought it could slow 'Game of Thrones' piracy. The company didn't even put a dent in it.


Michelle Jaworski


Posted on Apr 22, 2015   Updated on May 29, 2021, 12:30 am CDT

Many Game of Thrones fans who have illegally downloaded episodes of the hit HBO fantasy drama didn’t do so to avoid paying, but rather to avoid buying an entire cable subscription just for one channel. They said they would pay and watch it legally if only HBO offered a standalone streaming service.

In response to their pleas, HBO launched HBO Now just in time for the premiere of Game of Thrones‘ fifth season. But while premiere set record ratings, it also shattered piracy records yet again.

According to TorrentFreak, Game of Thrones has been downloaded more than 32 million times in the past week across 18 million IP addresses; more than 13 million of those downloads came from the season premiere, “The Wars to Come.”

The 32-million-downloads figure also includes the leaked episodes. On top of everything else, HBO also has to contend with people illegally streaming the show on Periscope.

More than 10 percent of all recent downloads came from the U.S., but Australia continued to show high piracy rates, with 32 percent of Australian viewers watching the show through piracy.

Tru Optik, a media intelligence firm that gathered the pirating data, estimated that HBO lost “$44 million in unmonetized demand potential if each of these viewers subscribed to HBO Now for the 3-month duration of GoT Season 5.”

With more people tuning in than ever before, HBO set out to tackle piracy ahead of the season 5 premiere. For the first time, it planned to simulcast new episodes in more than 170 countries. And along with a standard HBO subscription, people could also purchase a subscription to HBO Now. The first month would be free, but after that it would cost $14.99 a month.

Unfortunately, HBO’s offerings are limited. Unless you own an Apple TV or an iOS device, have Optimum Broadband or a Sling TV, you’re out of luck right now. HBO Now is similarly unavailable if you live outside the U.S.

HBO is bringing shows like Game of Thrones to more and more people, but not everyone can get in on the action. Given that the show is the talk of the Internet, interested parties will continue to use alternative methods to get their fix.

H/T Entertainment Weekly | Photo via Digitpedia Com/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Max Fleishman

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*First Published: Apr 22, 2015, 12:24 pm CDT