Game of Thrones Breaks BitTorrent Piracy Record, HBO Takes News in Stride

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News Posted: Tue, Apr 2 2013 3:44 PM
Pirates flocked to BitTorrent in record numbers to download the season premiere of HBO's Game of Thrones. Within an hour of the first torrent being uploaded, there were 163,088 people sharing the single file, breaking the record for the largest BitTorrent swarm ever.

That's according to TorrentFreak, which notes that the previous record was held by the season premier of Heroes with 144,663 peers. Game of Thrones blew past that mark, and if you count all the different releases, it's estimated that the season opener has been downloaded over a million times already.

Despite all this, HBO doesn't seem too ticked off. Just the opposite, actually.

"I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts," HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told Entertainment Weekly in an interview. "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."

Game of Thrones

Lombardo's comments are equal parts refreshing and shocking. To be clear, he isn't condoning piracy in any way, he's just acknowledging that it's sometimes a side effect of success. In fact, he sounded more concerned about the torrent files' quality rather than the fact that they're being illegally downloaded in the first place.

“One of my worries is about the copies [downloaders are] seeing," Lombardo said. "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."

Are you paying attention to this, big media?
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Congrats HBO, you just earned a customer. Not gonna pay for cable, but I just decided to replace my 'borrowed' files with purchased DVDs.

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turtle replied on Tue, Apr 2 2013 7:07 PM

I echo that sentiment, and think this is by far the most thought-out and intelligent response I have ever seen by a media company rep. His answer was pitch perfect.

He looks like the good guy, is accepting reality while harnessing that possible monetary gain (which is really all he can do other than simply ignore/abhore the existence of the matter, which does nothing or even gives people an 'excuse' to keep doing as they are now.)

He is also reminding that potential customer base a 1080p/Dolby Blu-ray is going to provide a much better experience than how most people that pirate it see the content, which is true.

Give this guy a raise...seriously. If not for this, than also because writers, directors, and producers all seem to love him, which speaks volumes this day and age.

Brilliant response that wins not only support, but shows he is one the few that truly understands the world we now live. I have no doubt that quote (and continued mindset) will make HBO a ton of money, as this guy not only gets the situation, but understands what needs to be done to monetize it on the current battlefield.

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I think it so true I dont see why more places do not embrace this philosphy because I see companys spending millions and 100k man hours to try to stop it. Hell post it first with ads you could beat any other posters by 15-20 minutes have faster downloads. And best part is you can get way more accurate numbers of who is watching your show than through cable which is alot of estimates and surveys that people dont always participate in. It may not be a good plan for a place like hbo where they charge extra on top of cable.

But for basic cable tv show I could see it being extremely beneficial. Because by embracing you make money of the ads by posting file first with just a couple adds. But then your also not spending millions trying to chase and send everyone a letter saying hey stop that stop that and ignore ignore then you finally get them to court and spend thousands trying to get settlement court agrees on settlement. But wait they dont have money so they bankrupt or just dont pay. Even with uploaders that they occasionally do get taken down and get a couple million they most likely still spent more trying to stop it. And within a week before next episode there is another uploader that has replaced them.

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Good on him. I don't want to get cable, but if they make HBO Go avaialble to non-cable customers for a reasonable price I'll definitely get it to support this attitude.

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slugbug replied on Fri, Apr 5 2013 12:23 PM

Wow, people still use Bit Torrent Stick out tongue

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Clixxer replied on Fri, Apr 5 2013 2:21 PM

sackyhack:

Good on him. I don't want to get cable, but if they make HBO Go avaialble to non-cable customers for a reasonable price I'll definitely get it to support this attitude.

This is would be the way to go. When I had my free 6 months of HBO from Uverse I watched HBO GO more than the TV since I could just watch all all the shows and they had all of the seasons for those shows. If they did something similar to netflix (streaming), I'm sure they would pull in a good but of revenue off something they have in place.

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Mattos replied on Fri, Apr 5 2013 8:47 PM

I completely agree. Most of my favorite shows were on HBO but I would not spend the extra money to get the channel. I prefer reading the books anyways. Still, it is kind of cool of the way HBO is responding to this.

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Clixxer replied on Sat, Apr 6 2013 3:12 PM

Mattos:

I completely agree. Most of my favorite shows were on HBO but I would not spend the extra money to get the channel. I prefer reading the books anyways. Still, it is kind of cool of the way HBO is responding to this.

From what people have told me about the books that Game of Thrones is pretty close. I was talking with a buddies wife the other day about this reading the book vs tv/movie show and I got her watching the first 2 seasons before the 3rd premiered. Shes always been someone to read the books and then watch a movie but she even said she doesn't want to read the books since the show is just that good. 

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ajm531 replied on Sat, Apr 6 2013 9:16 PM

http://theoatmeal.com/comics/game_of_thrones im sure most of you have seen this but yeah this explains it the best. its really neat to see such a big company look at something like piracy from such a different point of view when most companies view it as the devil and only as such and the only way to stop it is by taken away our privacy and freedoms in some cases

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HBO understaaaaands! props to you guys for making the biggest fantasy realm since LOTR 

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Clixxer replied on Fri, Apr 26 2013 5:49 PM

TimothyLiu:

HBO understaaaaands! props to you guys for making the best ever fantasy realm. 

I fixed it for ya buddy :)

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cranow12 replied on Sat, Apr 27 2013 3:19 AM

This show is the best. Not surprised it beat the old record.

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eunoia replied on Sat, Apr 27 2013 5:36 AM

News:

Are you paying attention to this, big media?

I remember reading these books a long time ago. Had a feeling there was some TV potential there.

http://www.kitguru.net/forum/poetry-writing-musings/2313-wheel-time-turned-into-movie.html?highlight=thrones

...pending.

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