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.”)

Who Says Web Series Aren’t the Future of TV?

Fairfax, one of Australia’s largest media companies, says it is.

And inasmuch as they’re Big Dogs in the country that gave us WILFRED, we’re all ears:

Show Doing Well on BitTorrent? We’ll Buy It, Says Media Giant – by Ernesto

Fairfax’s head of video Ricky Sutton has admitted that his company’s acquisition strategy is in large part based on what content is popular on BitTorrent. Not only is Fairfax using BitTorrent as a market research tool, the company also admits to advertising their content offerings directly on BitTorrent sites, in an attempt to convert pirates into paying customers.

It’s no secret that most media companies are not thrilled about BitTorrent piracy.

However, instead of fighting a futile battle to eradicate all unauthorized downloads, BitTorrent can also offer a unique insight into the viewing habits of millions of people.

Fairfax, one of Australia’s largest media outlets, appears to realize this.

At a government broadband conference in Sydney, Fairfax’s head of video Ricky Sutton admitted that in a country with one of the highest percentage of BitTorrent users worldwide, his company determines what shows to buy based on the popularity of pirated videos online.

“One of our major ways to get content is going to BitTorrent, and other BitTorrent sites, and find what people are illegally downloading to then go to the content owner and say, ‘hey, I watched this last night it’s going awesome on BitTorrent’ and then say ‘how about giving it to us?”‘

In other words, BitTorrent serves as one of the main market research strategies for the Aussie media outlet. And it doesn’t stop there as The Australian reports.

Read it all