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HBO Plans to Combat Game of Thrones Piracy, Sort Of


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Last week Game of Thrones director David Petrarca said that piracy isn’t
hurting his show, and that it may actually help to build an audience.
Several of the show’s actors, on the other hand, have a more negative
view towards piracy and equate it to stealing. HBO is not amused either
and the TV-network has a plan to counter piracy in 2013. Will it be good
enough?

With 4.3 million downloads per episode, Game of Thrones was the most pirated TV-show on the Internet last year.

With the third season of the popular TV-series premiering at the end
of the month, this questionable honor has been brought up a few times in
the media.


Last week the show’s director, David Petrarca, noted
that these unauthorized downloads actually do more good than harm.
According to the director, pirates are partly responsible for the
“cultural buzz” the show needs to thrive and survive.


Some of the show’s actors are more reserved though. Talking to the BBC actors Nikolaj Coster-Waldau (Jaime Lannister) mentions that he has mixed feelings about the “most pirated” title.


“There is a little part of you where you go, yes, we’re the most
pirated .. But then you go… This is really bad isn’t it,” he says.


The actor hopes that some of the pirates will end up buying a DVD or
Blu-Ray, but he clearly has his doubts. “At the end of the day it’s
stealing. I know it doesn’t feel like it but it is, and it’s not right.”


Rose Leslie, who plays Ygritte, understands that HBO is not going to
be thrilled about the ‘achievement’ but sees the massive piracy as a
compliment nonetheless.


“I suppose it’s a bit of a backhanded compliment, isn’t it? I don’t
think HBO will be too happy, but yes, one way or another that’s a huge
compliment. Not just to me but to the show as a whole,” she says.


For their part HBO admit they are somewhat to ‘blame’ for Game of
Thrones’ high piracy rates. In previous years it was impossible to view
the show legally in many locations, and HBO will do better on this front
in 2013.


Jeff Cusson, HBO’s senior vice president of corporate affairs, told Forbes this week that Game of Thrones will be available in 176 territories very shortly after the U.S. release.


“We think the key to combating piracy is to make content like Game of
Thrones available worldwide within the smallest window possible…to 176
territories within the week of the U.S. premiere,” Cusson says.


It’s unclear what “territories” Cusson is talking about but more
availability is certainly a good thing. Whether it’s good enough remains
to be seen, as even a 24-hour delay may be too much for die-hard fans
of the show.


In addition, it’s not ideal that some people have to buy a full HBO
subscription just to see one show. To many people this feels like a
waste of money. After all, you don’t buy a full car if you only need the
rims.


If HBO really wants to tackle the high piracy numbers it probably has to take more drastic measures.


What would make a serious dent in the piracy rate is if HBO began
selling a worldwide season pass for Game of Thrones alone, allowing
people to see the entire season on their favorite device, without any
delays for a reasonable price.


HBO is not oblivious to this option but would rather stick to their
full subscription model with its regional limitations. Apparently, the
network believes that this is the best long-term strategy.


This means that they can probably take another “most pirated” title for granted.

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