HBO’s Game of Thrones is super popular. Each week it pulls in impressive ratings and captivates millions of viewers. As good as this may seem, there’s a problem. It’s also quite popular amongst pirates and torrent users, who have turned season one of the show into the second-most-pirated television season of all time.
Forbes recently wrote an interesting piece on how Game of Thrones is about to become the most pirated show of 2012. Due to their being no simple way for people without cable to watch it, “the second season of the show has been downloaded more than 25 million times from public torrent trackers since it began in early April, and its piracy hit a new peak following April 30th’s episode, with more than 2.5 million downloads in a day.”
“It certainly appears to be the most pirated show of the year, says John Robinson, a senior media analyst with Big Champagne. The fact that it’s consistently at the top of the Pirate Bay’s top one hundred TV show chart seems like a pretty in-your-face leading indicator of the huge volume at which this is being shared.”
The real issue is that HBO makes it very difficult for people to watch their shows. By creating a sense of scarcity and exclusiveness, they’re shooting themselves in the foot. HBO doesn’t provide the show on Hulu or Netflix and iTunes currently only has season 1. You can use HBO’s streaming program, HBO Go, but you need a cable subscription for it.
It’s a real problem and to be honest, I don’t know the answer. I mean, I guess the fact that people are pirating it so much means that there’s a massive fan base, which is good. But still, HBO obviously wants people to be watching it on their network, not off torrent websites.
What do you think about the issue? Feel free to weigh in with a comment.