Game of Thrones named the #1 most pirated television show of 2015

Piracy ... get it?
Piracy … get it?

Game of Thrones continues to be outstanding … in more ways than one. TorrentFreak has declared it the #1 most pirated TV show for four years in a row.

According to TorrentFreak, Game of Thrones was the most downloaded television show of 2015 … by a long shot. With an estimated 14,400,000 downloads via BitTorrent, it beat out The Walking Dead by 7,500,000 downloads (though the latter has more US TV viewers, interestingly enough).

Though episode 5, “Kill the Boy,” set an all-time piracy record, over half of the total illegal downloads occurred during the week after the season 5 premiere. 480p copies were the most popular, despite increased demand for high-quality releases.

Back in April, Iwan Rheon discussed the potential long-term consequences that this trend could have on the production value and overall quality of Game of Thrones (start at 2:47).


  1. Given HBOs release pattern its not surprising. A nearly 1 year wait us ridiculous. But most of the people that I know who get the priated versions say they still buy the ligit versions when it becomes available.

  2. West of Moon,

    I could be wrong, but I don’t think those predisposed to illegally downloading episodes, at least the vast majority of them, would be any less likely to do so if the season was released on DVD/BlueRay earlier.

    I’d also guess the fact over half the illegal downloads were after the season premiere was a direct result of the first 4 episodes being leaked. I hope that doesn’t happen again with season 6. That sucked!!!

  3. I know people who get GOT via net and each of them do have paid DVD and books and Audio, on one hand it’s illegal yet on the other hand GRRM is getting paid from them 3 times over along with HBO and performers from the show and audio CDs, so to me they paid, people who DL and keep the files and don’t support the artist is more of a shame.

  4. Please…nobody who pirates the show is paying for any media copies after the fact. They think it’s clever and then laugh at the people who pay for HBO.

  5. Congrats to GOT and HBO for another top award in 2015. Oh come these accolades never end up in their year ender?

  6. Joey:
    Please…nobody who pirates the show is paying for any media copies after the fact. They think it’s clever and then laugh at the people who pay for HBO.

    I know people who do and have done it twice in previous seasons (when I didn’t have legal access to HBO) and I have always bought the blurays and DVDs (both).

  7. My roommate pirated Rome in college and we watched it together. We both bought them on DVD later. At least from my experience, people who pirate are people who can’t (or won’t, to be fair) pay the sub price, but that’s not the same as saying they can’t (or won’t) pay the DVD price later.

  8. What about viewers like us who, if we pay for the channel, will get a censored version of the show as per the conservative laws of the land.Who wants to see that? Of course people will turn to illegal downloads.I will pay for the channel the day they will show me the episodes as the way they are.

  9. Joey:
    Please…nobody who pirates the show is paying for any media copies after the fact. They think it’s clever and then laugh at the people who pay for HBO.

    That’s probably what YOU do… but you don’t speak for the world.

  10. Piyush Sharma,

    I know there are some in some countries where it either takes so long for the episodes to air, there is almost no way not to get spoiled, or the episodes which air are so highly censored, there’s little point watching. I can understand why they go the illegal download route. I do hope, however, those same people do the right thing and purchase the seasons once they become available on DVD Blu-Ray. I also know there are people who live in places the cost for even getting cable is so outrageous (I seem to remember a lot of people in Australia complaining about this), they go the illegal download route, too. I also hope they do the right thing and purchase the season once it is released on DVD or Blu-Ray. I know some at least some do.

    I don’t like the idea of illegally downloading, but if those people turn around and buy the seasons, it doesn’t seem as bad.

    Those who do it for no reason other than ’cause they can, and do so with no intention of purchasing anything legitimately, well, imo, those people are thieves.

  11. The numbers are out of this world ! It’s absolutely insane how popular this show have become. It just keep growing every year and I’m sure the fantastic yet to be seen Season 6 will continue that trend.

  12. Tsk, tsk. This behaviour is inexcusable. To download 480p versions in this day and age is… ah, I am at a loss for words really.

  13. I have no sympathy with those that just don’t want to pay up, but any kind of delay between first airing & when it is shown in your area, even if it is just a matter of hours is unacceptable in the social media age.

    Luckily with GoT in the UK, Sky Atlantic have cottoned on to this & actually simulcast it at the same time as HBO which is 02:00am UK time. So now it’s just up to you when you watch & how you avoid spoilers. With so many providers having some sort of streaming service (or so is the case in UK with iPlayer, ITVPlayer & All4), there is no excuse not to make a programme available online from the moment it concludes it’s initial broadcast). In some cases its actually in their best interests as it’s the best way to stop viewers skipping advertising!

    Worst offender in recent times was How I Met Your Mother. They spent 8 years building up the reveal of the mother, only to post screencaps of the key episode the moment it was aired in the US on their official Facebook page. A big screw you to most fans around the globe, (the UK had about a 4 week delay).

  14. To be honest, I subscribe to HBO, but I pirate it often simply because I’m rarely home and HBO Go is sometimes unavailable to me.

  15. There’s nothing interesting about TWD getting bigger Nielsen numbers than GoT. It airs on basic cable. And the majority of USA have that. Not everyone has HBO. That’s why GoT’s piracy numbers are also bigger.

  16. A particular pet peeve of mine is people who watch the show via illegal download and then write scathing reviews of it, especially about the production quality. I mean, if you’re getting it illegally and free, quit bitching about how dark the scenes seem.

    It’s kind of like doing a dine and dash at a restaurant and then writing a shitty review of the food and service and discouraging people from going there. Total dick move.

    I both subscribe to HBO and buy the DVDs. And I’m happy to do it. Hell, I’m happy to invite my less fortunate friends over to watch it at my place and to let my parents watch it on my HBO Now login.

    It’s unfortunate that some countries censor the show, but that’s not the fault of the show’s producers. I have real sympathy for people in those situations, but why should HBO be denied the revenue from their product because of it?

  17. What is Iwan talking about this affecting the production values? The show is still breaking HBO ratings records.

  18. Jack Bauer 24:
    What is Iwan talking about this affecting the production values? The show is still breaking HBO ratings records.

    Iwan’s point of view was a bit extreme. If every person had the same point of view as those pirates who never pay, which to be fair is probably the majority of the pirates, then we wouldn’t have Game of Thrones, period. But Iwan made it sound like there is a constant relationship between the number of subscribers and the budget of Game of Thrones, which is simply not true. There is a relationship, yes, but it isn’t quite as cut and dry as all of that.

  19. Joey:
    Please…nobody who pirates the show is paying for any media copies after the fact. They think it’s clever and then laugh at the people who pay for HBO.

    I’m sure there are those people, but I know for sure there are people just as I stated prior, people will pay for a media if the product is good; they may not want to or can’t afford to pluck down between 180-200 dollars ( or your local currency ) but most can pay 35 to 50 dollars for a season of their favorite shows.
    Most people go for HBO,Showtime,Starz etc. for the special content the rest they usually don’t care about.

  20. It’s really hard to say for anyone except for those who have crunched the numbers and have all the data how much piracy actually hurts HBO and the show. I certainly never would have watched the first 2 seasons had it not been for piracy, and who knows if I ever would have subscribed to HBO Now if I wasn’t a GoT fan. I have kept my HBO Now sub since the show has ended and will continue to do so.
    HBO has to be making ungodly amounts of money off the show, otherwise they wouldn’t be upping their budget every year. Plus you have all the extra revenue from merchandise and DVDs, and the increased sub rates plus HBo now…yeah I’m fairly certain HBO is not hurting at all.

  21. Piracy probably contributed to the success of this show and spread GoT worldwide… I wonder how many people in the world have bought the DVDs, the books, toys, t-shirts, CDs, videogames, HBO subscription, etc. after discovering GoT during an act of piracy… Arrr!

    It probably also had a positive effect on the career of Iwan Rheon and colleagues. You see an actor/actress in the show, you find him/her good, you want to see more of them, you go to the cinema to see their last movie or buy the DVDs of their previous works…

    If the product is good, piracy is just the beginning.

    I presume GoT generated an awful lot of money, in many ways… Maybe even thanks to piracy. 😛

  22. Well I pay for HBO and downloaded pirated versions….does that make me wrong ….its mainly due to I cant watch when it airs on HBO and let’s face it one watch of an GOT episode is simply not enough …
    I can’t get enough fix on GOT if i dont watch an episode multiple times and watch all the rraction videos and review videos…podacasts and come here and westeros to read the reviews and posters reaction …
    Even if anyone of this i cant do in between an episode i feel like iam missing something

  23. Well we don’t have HBO in my country unless you pay for FOXEL subscription and I hate Murdoch so no I just go watch it on Primewire when I feel like it, and when I want to watch it with my friends and family with better quality I watch the DVDs.

  24. I would happily pay for some sort of “HBO Go” if it were available here in Germany at the same rate as Netflix or something – pay three months at $10 each for a GoT season seems fair. But the only way to watch GoT “live” here (when it first screens in the US) to buy an absurdly priced two-year-subscription to Sky that even at the discount rate they sometimes offer would come to $250-300. And I’m not even sure if their Sky Atlantic channel has subtitles (which I need because I’m hard of hearing). So, sorry, I’m not paying around $300 for two seasons of GoT and perhaps the odd other HBO show if they show it in the original version with subtitles (Germany still has a deplorable habit of dubbing most things into German).

    So, yes, I pirate GoT on Monday mornings after it screened in the US evening and watch it during my lunch break, then spend the evening catching up on internet gossip.

    I have bought each season on DVD later as a “thank you” to HBO, I have bought those “Behind the scenes at GoT” books, never mind the original SoIaF-books, I have bought two T-Shirts, a notebook and a coffee mug. All this partly out of sheer love for the show but also to have some money flowing back to HBO. Needless to say that despite me pirating GoT initially, HBO has made tons more money from me than any show I watch legally on TV or streaming services.

    Without the option to pirate GoT, the show had never become the huge phenomenon it is and generate the millions it does. So, sorry, I think Iwan Rheon is wrong here and he also doesn’t know the situation in so many countries when it comes to buying access to HBO legally for a decent amount of money. If he wants to be angry, he can be angry at HBO for not making some sort of HBO Go available worldwide like Netflix.

  25. Nymeria Warrior Queen: I’d also guess the fact over half the illegal downloads were after the season premiere was a direct result of the first 4 episodes being leaked. I hope that doesn’t happen again with season 6. That sucked!!!

    I hated that! Downloaded all 4 eps and then had wait 4 weeks.

  26. If you check this

    Game of thrones is leading by far compared to every similar to it tv series, worldwide

    I personally started to be so in this show, after a friend send me the whole first season she got from torrent with subs.. i watched it in no stop and here i am years after buying all kind of merchandise game of thrones provide… i don’t think they lost anything by this first pirated season… they won…
    I am lucky i already had the cable that shows GOT in my country, but if someone didn’t i don’t see how they can afford the cost of so many channels just to watch a series that last some months.

  27. How about countries where we can only watch via downloading : No channels air the show, no DVD release, we can’t subscribe on webSites (HBO GO…) and that’s not only for HBO, the same for other series and movies So downloading js the only possibility to watch

  28. Princess Pirate:
    (Germany still has a deplorable habit of dubbing most things into German).

    While I can see how that can be, as you say, deplorable, I will be eternally grateful for that habit of German TV stations: I learned German that way. Back in the 90s, the only way I could watch Star Trek: The Next Generation and Deep Space Nine was via satellite on German TV station SAT1. As I was a Trek uberfan, I had no choice but to learn German. I can still remember taping the show (VHS for the win!) and then watching it with the remote in one hand, pausing every so often, and a German dictionary in another.

    Good memories of Alarmstufe Rot, Schutzschilde, and the occasional Ausweichmanoever!

  29. Nymeria Warrior Queen,

    I promise you that there are places in this world (rare but they are) that there is no access to HBO or any other high quality TV networks of US or UK, there is also all kind of shipping problems in case of purchasing DVDs IF they can afford the prices of course which so many of them can’t, legal streaming routes are not an option too because of a shitty Internet connection and they have to tolerate incredibly dull shows and movies of their own country ( which for some people is not an issue based on their beliefs, ideals, standards and etc..) or go download routes, of course some of them don’t mind and may even laugh at those who pay around the world but not all of them, some of them hate it but there is no choice and this is one of the many many many reasons that they can’t wait to get the hell out of that place forever.

  30. I live in the UK but I am from Europe. Everyone I know obviously discovered or tried out GoT through piracy, every single person. At least here, the 20-25 demographic was responsible for the initial popularity of the show, I’m pretty sure. This age group do not have a TV in most cases, they are fucking broke, and the available streaming services are pretty bad anyway (in some countries more than others). The only people who actually watch it on sky atlantic are either moms, or people who first discovered the show through piracy, and are lucky enough to have a family sky subscription. I see why they would complain about it but had piracy not existed GoT would have never been what it is now.

  31. Europe here as well, for the first two seasons the show was aired on local channels a year after the season was shown on HBO and there was no HBO. Then HBO opened a channel here as well, which was all well and good but the episodes were shown a week later than the original airdate. Luckily they quickly changed that and for the past two seasons new episodes have aired the next evening after it airs the first time, which is good enough.

    To HBO’s credit, they really stepped up their game when it comes to distributing the series in non-US countries after the first couple of seasons.

  32. I agree with those who think HBO actually benefits from piracy, because without it, GoT would not become a global hit. Also piracy is quite complicated issue, that goes beyond definition of stealing/sharing. There are various issues in different countries. Some already mentioned availability, censorship and delay issues, but there is more of it.

    For example in my country, downloading for personal use is not ilegal. So the term ilegal downloading is not even technically correct. Than it turns out that even while pirating GoT, i am still a paying customer, because its state TV that had rights for GoT in my country and everyone who own a television have to pay monthly fee to state TV.

    So the costs of “ilegal” and legal versions are exactly same for me, so is the profit of HBO from me. Reasons why i prefer “ilegal” version are simple: i dont like long delay (the third season was here broadcasted at the same time as the fifth season on HBO) and dubbing.

  33. It’s pretty simple. There’s lots of series from lots of different channels I like to watch. Half of those aren’t available for 3 months or so after release, the others all have some delay too and are spread over different services, all charging a fair amount of money. I’m a student, I’m not rich, and I don’t intend to pay 100 € (or more, haven’t checked the exact amount) a month to watch half the shows I want to watch days after they air on HBO. Scream thief all you want, torrents have considerably improved my life, and I have no regrets.

  34. Joey,

    Not true at all. I live in a country where GOT is shown the next day, with lots of ads, and in poor quality. HBO isn’t available to me in any shape or form. Hence, I download the show. Nonetheless, I pay for the subscription to the channel that airs GOT, and I buy the DVDs and Blu-Rays (both) every year, as well as lots of other merchandise. So fear not, the show has made plenty of money off of me. Don’t be so quick to assume those who download are just deadbeat liars who don’t want to pay for anything.

  35. Ultimately, GoT (and I suppose TV in general) has become a Pay-What-You-Want enterprise. People who are too poor (or feel too poor) to afford to pay, will pirate or mooch off of relatives or go watch in a public venue. People who have enough to $$ and a conscience will pay – one way or another. Either they’ll buy DVD’s or Merch or they’ll buy HBO-Now for a couple months. Then you still have people where premium cable is a given – they pay and don’t think twice about it. And yes, ultimately, you have people that could easily afford to pay but don’t. You always have cheaters in any pay what you want system and that’s part of the deal.

    Personally I’ve obtained GoT through different means every year. I have pirated some years (when I felt poor) & then bought Blurays or asked for them as gifts. I have purchased HBO Now. I have used relatives HBO GO. I have purchased Merch several times, more so in the first couple years when HBO Now and GO didn’t exist.

    The funny thing is it’s actually important for this kind of system to work long term that we (and the people involved in production) continue to try to make cheaters feel bad. I’m not referring to people who can’t reasonably get it any other way, or people who are too poor to afford it. I’m talking about people who can pay but feel entitled to download illegally anyway. As long as we (and people like Iwan) keep harping on how the show needs money to exist, some of them are going to feel obliged to pay what they are able, somehow, thereby stabilizing the system.

  36. But if you already pay for HBO as part of your cable line-up don’t you also have it available On-demand? Right now even I can still watch any episode from all 5 seasons as much as I want. I do it once a week on Sunday just to get my Jon Snow fix 🙂 Appears that will end next month, at least that’s what it says available till above the title.

  37. Piracy undermines the profiteering monopoly that these companies insist on indulging in.

    And as online media goes from strength to strength (e.g. streaming, digital downloads, online-only content, etc) against broadcast TV, and optical media slowly begins to die off, piracy is going to be more important than ever in asserting consumer choice.

    Take something like The Simpsons. They have recently announced that they will no longer be releasing their newest seasons on DVD / Blu-Ray and they will only be available to download or stream on-demand at a specific website,

    Without piracy, such decisions put the distributors in complete control and consumers at their mercy. Using DRM they could ensure that you never actually own your own copy of their material ever again.

    They could make sure that you are only able to play their media on specific players and devices, perhaps only after watching a ton of adverts beforehand.

    As if to perfectly demonstrate the downsides of a distributor monopoly, the site where you’re meant to be able to stream the entire Simpsons back catalogue on-demand isn’t even available outside the United States.

    The potential for shafting the consumer is huge.

    In some instances piracy is the only means by which you can affordably watch or own a copy of a show or movie. In some instances it’s the only means by which you can get hold of a copy of a show/movie that you can own and watch however you choose at all.

    As has been mentioned extensively above, there are myriad reasons why people resort to piracy. But at the root of it all is the distributors’ failure to offer a simple, affordable and consumer-friendly means to buy or download their material.

    In recent decades it has been piracy that has forced distributors to offer simpler and cheaper ways to buy or watch their material.

    I live in the UK, and I simply cannot afford nor do I want to pay hundreds of pounds for Sky TV just to watch Game of Thrones. I may sign up to Now TV when Game of Thrones starts and see how it goes (whether the streaming is good enough and doesn’t eat up all my bandwidth etc.), and as long as they make it quite plain that Game of Thrones will be available (like all of these on-demand services their website is unnecessarily vague).

    But if I want copies to own and re-watch until the season box set comes out then there’s only one way to get hold of them.

    And if distributors stop releasing on optical media, as The Simpsons rights holders have, then in some instances piracy could end up as the only way to get hold of a copy of shows that you can keep and use freely.

  38. Jack Bauer 24,

    People in the industry don’t care about the consumers rights of the viewer.

    As long as they’re employed and the shows they’re doing are receiving plaudits then they won’t care if the viewers are being charged £1 or £1000 to see it.

    And they’re certainly not going to think about the lack of availability or difficulties watching their show legally around the world.

    They’re firmly on the side of the copyright holders, because they view themselves as artists who deserve to be paid handsomely for their work. You can tell that from the way he talks about the issue in the interview. His focus is firmly on production values and the availability of work for actors.

    I know he probably wouldn’t be stupid enough to bite the hand that feeds him during an interview, but he needs to consider the monopolizing and profiteering of the companies making these productions and recognise that piracy is predominantly driven by a lack of availability and affordability.

    Time Warner, the company that own HBO, are still making billions every year and if they want to combat piracy and maintain those revenues then they must continue to innovate and give the consumer opportunities and reasons to hand over their cash.

  39. Daughter of Winter:
    Nymeria Warrior Queen,
    I promise you that there are places in this world (rare but they are) that there is no access to HBO or any other high quality TV networks of US or UK, there is also all kind of shipping problems in case of purchasing DVDs IF they can afford the prices of coursewhich so many of them can’t, legal streaming routes are not an option too because of a shitty Internet connection and they have to tolerate incredibly dull shows and movies of their own country ( which for some people is not an issue based on their beliefs, ideals, standards and etc..) or go download routes, of course some of them don’t mind and may even laugh at those who pay around the world but not all of them, some of them hate it but there is no choice and this is one of the many many many reasons that they can’t wait to get the hell out of that place forever.

    I promise you that there are people in this world that have no access to $20,000 Birkin handbags. They have to make do with shitty Vera Bradley bags that are made from mere quilted cloth instead of alligators and dragons. Can you imagine these poor souls having to make do with handbags that cost less than many people make all year? The horror! Clearly, these disenfranchised folks should go out and steal Birkins because the fact that they could not otherwise obtain this luxury entitles them to do so.

  40. I live in the US and I pay quite a bit for my cable/internet monthly, always have. The trade off is that I don’t go to movies in the theater and I rarely go out to eat. That is the only way I can justify paying the high rate of cable.

    That said, I have never downloaded any movie or television show. It never occurred to me to do so. I have read the impassioned posts of folks who can’t afford it or where it isn’t available, but I still see pirating as something that is not okay. To me, it is like stealing. If you can’t afford to see a movie, does one sneak in to see it? If one can’t afford a car, do you steal someone else’s? Getting something for free when it is out there to be purchased, is stealing.

    The reason that it is done is that there is no penalty as there is for say stealing a car or breaking into a store to steal a TV because one can’t afford a TV. So it is done. To say that without piracy GoT’s would not have the worldwide viewership that is does, is the truth, but that still doesn’t make theft a right thing to do.

    While I am sure I will be considered an “entitled” American to have this attitude, I can say that I am a fairly old person and I have had to work and pay for everything I ever had or wanted. There is nothing for free. Someone pays the price, always. What I wonder is…

    What did the world do before piracy was even an option? They waited, they saved and like even greedy Americans, they did without.

    waits to be pelted with rotten fruit

  41. JCDavis,

    What did the world do before piracy was even an option?… That was a world without social media & instant news. A film could be released in parts of the US months before other parts (and often had to be because of number of reels available) and the later viewers would have no knowledge of the plot. Now the moment a programme finishes every detail is available & in some cases near unavoidable from Tipperary to Timbuktu! This different world requires different considerations.

  42. Ginevra,


    Exactly. Just because I want something and it’s not available in my area, or it’s more than I am willing to pay, doesn’t mean that I’m justified in stealing it.

    I sympathize with people who have no access. I do. But we are talking a television show here, an indulgence, not a necessity.

    And that’s a used Birkin you’re getting for 20K. 😉

  43. Always said he’s not staying in the cave ( WF has a weirwood after all and a crypt), but this could be something different.

  44. JCDavis,
    What did the world do before piracy was even an option? They waited, they saved and like even greedy Americans, they did without.

    Well, my Dad used to record star trek episodes as they played on TV (and later many other shows) on VHS and DVD to watch for his own enjoyment and also to share with friends and family. During the 80’s (or 90’s?) there were lawsuits about this type of use brought by media producers, which ultimately were unsuccessful. This established you are indeed allowed to record episodes of TV or movies (or other media) for your own use and by extension the limited use by people you know.

    I’d argue that ultimately, the difference between that and pirating, is one of scale and technology, and I do think that companies will have to deal with the new reality – that it is now plausible that people will post things for free online for others to use, for no other reason than because they like to share things they love with others – even anonymous strangers.

    It behooves media producers to make media available at a distribution and pricing scheme that makes sense in a world where it is very easy to obtain media, legally or otherwise. because that’s what has really changed. The market is much larger and more diverse than ever – make your product available at prices that make sense in each market (or even ask people to pay what they want for products, ala kickstarter).

  45. JCDavis,

    What did the world do before piracy was even an option? They waited, they saved and like even greedy Americans, they did without.

    Times have changed. There is far, far more choice than ever before. We’re not talking about an era where there were a few blockbusters released in the cinema every year and everything else was broadcast on free-to-air TV. The sheer amount of content available and in varying formats, especially since TV and movies transcend borders, is like never before.

    People still do wait and save. Billions of dollars are still spent on TV and cinema. Just look at the latest Star Wars which is on course to become the highest grossing film of all time, just months after films like Jurassic World, Furious 7 and Avengers 2 hit the top 10 highest grossing films of all time.

    Millions of people pay for TV, sports and music subscriptions every year.

    It’s just that nobody other than the wealthy could afford to wait and save enough to buy everything on offer these days. The arts shouldn’t be the preserve of the wealthy.

    And people aren’t necessarily willing to pay for a poor product if they can try it for free to start with. Many will watch or download shows and movies that they otherwise would not stump up the cash for, then if they enjoy the content will purchase it in future on some format, or it will spur them to purchase content from the same makers, in the same franchise, and so on.

    And the question comes back to, if somebody was not going to spend money on going to see a movie in the cinema or sign up to a TV subscription to watch a particular show, then has the company actually lost any money by them pirating it?

    This isn’t a car, or a TV, or jewellery we’re talking about here, whereby a thief removes a physical object with a tangible cost and presence from its owner.

    It’s intellectual property. It doesn’t necessarily have any material value until somebody actually hands over their money or enters their card details to pay for it.

    If you hear a piece of music, you have not stolen it. It has not lost any of its value by you hearing it. And it still potentially holds value in future if that person chooses to purchase copies of it in future.

    Most people still pay hundreds of pounds/dollars a year on TV and entertainment. The availability of piracy has simply allowed people to watch what they wouldn’t or couldn’t have otherwise.

    And, frankly, it is due to piracy that non-pirates get to enjoy their entertainment as cheaply and conveniently as they do. Piracy has spurred innovation from distributors that they wouldn’t otherwise have engaged in. And it forces them to keep costs low.

    Kill piracy and overnight the billion dollar companies would jack the prices up and kill off some of the innovations that have been beneficial to consumers.

  46. Ramsay’s 20th Good Man,

    I’m sorry but no. You’re making a lot of assumptions with nothing to back it up. I can just as easily point out that people who could pay choose not to because they can get it for free through piracy.

    And it’s because of piracy that I end up paying more, not less.

  47. Ramsays 20th Good Man

    All I read in your comment back to me was rationalization for excusing the ability to pirate the show.

    No matter how many years go by, theft is theft. Regardless of whether it is a tangible product or a movie on the television. I have the ability to record GoT’s every week as soon as it comes out (don’t have to, I have ON DEMAND) and give it away to everyone I know who doesn’t have HBO or can’t afford HBO. It wouldn’t be right. I will gladly have them come to my home and watch it with me, at least they have to make an investment to do such.

    To equate GoT’s to music that you listen to and thereby pirate that music? Too much of a stretch there. Listening to a song on the radio that is offered freely is different from illegally downloading Adele’s “Hello” for your own instead of paying the price for the CD. Which equates to pirating of GoT’s.

    I get it. Folks in the newer age of technology and social media (not all, but many) have got a way to have what they want without payment and to feel totally justified in doing so. They don’t know any different, it is what they were born into. I am not saying don’t do it, I am saying that I wouldn’t do it. There is a difference.

    I wasn’t born with a cell phone in one hand and a Notepad in the other. If I wanted to do a report on Troy, I had to hump it to the library and get the information, from a book, that I had to read. That or look it up in my mothers ragged copy of the Funk and Wagnalls. 🙂

  48. I’ll never understand why these threads ALWAYS devolve into a debate about the morality of pirating. Who do you think you’re actually going to convince? Do those who are attacking the morality of the pirates think that their magically wonderful words are suddenly going to shame the pirates to stop? Do those who do it for whatever reason think that they’re going to convince these people to change their opinion? These threads are the worst kind of internet masturbation.

  49. David H

    Thanks for your enlightened opinion. Holds just about as much water as any other does, including my own. Something to do until April I suppose. Have a nice day.

  50. Daughter of Winter:

    Oh trust me friend trust me i know it i know it all probably better than anyone else here, if only i could say more.

    I apologize for having jumped on my high horse. It isn’t the piracy itself that bothers me so much as the justification of the piracy. But if you are under a truly oppressive regime where censorship reigns in place of freedom, I understand your desire to rebel against the system.

  51. JCDavis,

    I wasn’t born with a cell phone in one hand and a Notepad in the other.

    Neither was I. Which is why I can recognise the difference between the days before online piracy and the current situation.

    Gone are the days when most top drama and entertainment was free-to-air, aside from a few adverts, and when an occasional paid trip to the cinema was the height of entertainment.

    Nowadays a person needs multiple pay TV and on-demand subscriptions, high speed broadband and a trip to the cinema every week to keep up with the amount of content that’s produced.

    For example, a quick look on IMDB lists 2,799 popular feature films released in, say, 1975 and 3,321 in 1988. In 2014 they list 8,997 feature film titles alone.

    And, speaking of the past, the advent of the VCR meant that pretty much every person on the planet was a pirate, illegally recording and re-watching films without permission. Did you? It didn’t stop people going to the cinema, watching TV or buying legitimate copies.

    I’m old enough to remember just how much of a profiteering monopoly the film, TV and music industries had become or were becoming.

    Even upon the advent of the internet they stubbornly sat on their hands, refusing to innovate because their cash cows weren’t threatened. It was piracy that forced them to innovate. It’s piracy that has kept prices low. Innovations such as being able to download individual music tracks or individual episodes of a TV show wouldn’t have come about had they not needed to combat the distribution of individual tracks/episodes by pirates. If they could still oblige you to buy an entire album or box set just in order to get hold of one particular track/episode then they would do.

    Piracy is also preventing them exploiting things like DRM in ways that would be detrimental to the consumer, which will become increasingly necessary as more content moves online only.

    As somebody who has experienced both eras I can recognise the benefits that piracy has brought about for consumers, and I’m therefore loath to condemn piracy as the felonious behaviour some prefer to view it as.

    And the doom-laden prophecies of billion dollar companies and their millionaire employees won’t do much to sway my opinion, especially in an era when more content is being produced than ever before and production values continue to rise.

    The majority of people worldwide are still stumping up their cash for content and subscriptions, and the average person downloading a few films/shows/albums or content that they would/could not have paid for anyway is no greater challenge to these industries than previous acts of piracy and technological innovation.

    As long as they continue to evolve, create popular content and offer affordability then the industries will survive. And any day now a technological advance could put an end to piracy altogether.

    This is a golden age for consumers, partly due to piracy, so people should enjoy it while it lasts.

  52. Wait so, 14.4 million downloads is “the average person downloading a few films/shows/albums or content.” And that’s just for Game of Thrones. That doesn’t include the other content you are discussing.

    So we aren’t talking a few here. We are talking 14.4 million downloads. If even half of those downloaders would/could pay for it if they weren’t able to get it for free, and let’s say it’s some ridiculously low price like $1.00 per download, that’s $7,200,000.00. And maybe that’s a drop in the bucket to you, but it’s certainly not to me.

    So, want to buy me that Birkin bag I really want, can’t afford and refuse to steal? It’s only $95,000.

  53. Ginevra,

    No problem fellow watcher, and this is an incredibly exciting time for us as hardcore fans of the show with all the promotional stuff and everything so why even bother with bitterness right?

    Happy new year by the way, sincerely hope that it’ll be packed with happiness and everything that you desire.

  54. I know that HBO, like every other big corporation, as a target profit margin. They balance pricing and costs in order to meet that profit margin. If they are able to meet it more easily, some of the additional proceeds can be freed up to increase the budget for existing shows and perhaps green light new additional work. Or they can charge a lower price.

    I think if people aren’t pirating and are paying instead, I’m getting more for the buck I spend on HBO.

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