HBO Admits It: Game of Thrones Downloading “Doesn’t Hurt Sales”

The season premiere of HBO’s GAME OF THRONES set all kinds of records this week with well over a million, um, “unauthorized downloads” in less than 24 hours. That fact, coupled with TVWriter™’s longtime concern about the “battle” between creators’ rights and the rights of the audience, makes the following a very important bit of knowledge indeed:


by Andy

Last month the director of Game of Thrones admitted something that his paymasters had HBO might have avoided. Huge online piracy doesn’t hurt the show, he said, and in fact might create benefits by generating cultural buzz. Well check the date if you like folks but the following is absolutely genuine. HBO programming president Michael Lombardo has just announced that not only is the huge piracy a compliment, but the phenomenon hasn’t hurt DVD sales at all.

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

These figures understandably caused much debate, but left show director David Petrarca quite unruffled. During a panel discussion at the University of Western Australia the 47-year-old said that shows like Game of Thrones thrive on “cultural buzz” and benefit from the social commentary they generate. Piracy, he said, helps to oil those wheels.

But Petrarca wasn’t the only show associate with the impression that piracy might have its benefits. Just a couple of weeks later and the show’s actors were weighing in, with Rose Leslie, who plays Ygritte, describing it as a plus.

“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 said.

With Season 3 of the smash-hit series getting underway last night, HBO have also commented on the piracy situation but in a quite unexpected way. Rather than come out guns blazing they actually agree with Leslie – piracy is indeed a form of flattery.

“I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts,” HBO programming president Michael Lombardo told EW. “[Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network.”

Read it all (because if we post the whole thing here some people might mistake that for “piracy.”)