HBO to simulcast Game of Thrones Season 5 in over 170 countries

hboHBO is taking further steps to make its programming as widely available as possible, with least hassle and delay, removing the incentive to pirate their shows. The recent moves have all been timed with Game of Thrones, their most popular programme of all times, in mind and the latest one is no exception.

Game of Thrones S5 will premiere simultaneously in over 170 countries around the globe on HBO subsidiaries and partner channels, and the practice will continue each week for the entirety of the 10-episode season. Says Michael Lombardo, President of HBO Programming:

We are thrilled to see our international partners jumping on board to bring Game of Thrones, one of the most universally loved television shows in the world, to global audiences at the same time it airs on HBO in the U.S. It’s going to be a great season.

Full press release after the jump.

Game of Thrones® Premieres in Over 170 Countries Simultaneously

 Entire Fifth Season of HBO’s Worldwide Phenomenon to be Simulcast

Across the Globe Timed with Airing on HBO U.S.

 New York, N.Y., March 10, 2015 – In an unprecedented move, Game of Thrones® will premiere in over 170 countries and territories across the globe simultaneously with HBO’s U.S. airing on Sunday, April 12 at 9:00pm ET, it was announced today by HBO.  The entire fifth season of the Emmy®-, Golden Globe®- and Peabody®-winning series will be simulcast to HBO branded networks and broadcast partners across the world, creating a global television event week after week throughout the season’s 10-episode run.

“We are thrilled to see our international partners jumping on board to bring Game of Thrones, one of the most universally loved television shows in the world, to global audiences at the same time it airs on HBO in the U.S.,” said Michael Lombardo, President, HBO Programming. “It’s going to be a great season.”

Among those participating are the HBO branded networks: HBO Asia, HBO Canada, HBO Europe, HBO Latin America, HBO Netherlands and HBO Nordic.

Also included are international “Home of HBO” services including: Africa/M-Net, Australia/Foxtel, Belgium(Flemish)/Telenet, France/Orange, Iceland/365 Media, Israel/DBS, Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia and SKY New Zealand.  HBO licensing partners in the simulcast include: Belgium(French)/Betv, Greece/Intervision, Russia/Amedia and Spain/DTS.

Since its debut Game of Thrones has become a worldwide phenomenon and the most popular series in HBO history. Last year, the series was the most searched television show worldwide on Google and the #1 most talked about show on Facebook in the U.S.

Game of Thrones is based on George R.R. Martin’s fantasy series A Song Of Ice and Fire, where political and sexual intrigue abound as seven noble families fight for control of the mythical land of Westeros. The epic series, with storylines of treachery and nobility, family and honor, ambition and love, and death and survival, has captured the imagination of fans globally and become one of the most popular shows on television.

44 responses

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    1. “removing the incentive to pirate their shows.”

      They could start by not making HBO Now an Apple Exclusive. Not everyone has an Apple TV…

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    2. That’s great news! I don’t know about other countries, but in Romania new episodes were available on HBO GO immediately after that episode aired in the US (~5am ), but it will be great to not have to rely on HBO GO (which doesn’t always work).
      Now, I’ll probably watch the premiere on the simulcast but that’s it. I love sleep too much 😛

      Btw, is this pic of Dany and Missandei new? (nothing exciting, just curious) http://www.ew.com/sites/default/files/styles/tout_image_612x380/public/i/2015/03/10/thrones-season-5.jpg?itok=W45TwZKJ

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    3. Sean,

      This is a fair argument. I have an apple MacBook Air and an Iphone 5S but I decided to use Google Chromecast for my streaming services. Granted I still have cable with HBO so I’m still able to watch legally

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    4. It’s incredibly silly that HBO wants to be so inclusive with its content, but choose to exclude a large number of people who don’t have Apple products. I know they’ll probably expand to other platforms later on, but you can bet your ass they ain’t doing it until Season 5 ends.

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    5. Darjan,

      This article on CNET says that while you can still watch on a pc, you have to sign up for HBONow via an Apple device. It also confirms that the Apple exclusive will last through the end of season 5.

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    6. Uggghh why don’t they just make HBO Now available worldwide for $15 and everyone’s problems would be solved. No need for cable providers or satellite TV anymore, no country boundaries with lots of expensive sub-providers in between milking the cash cow (I’m looking at you SKY europe). The internet is global but everyone’s still trying to build walls ‘for’ the people 🙁

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    7. It will be available on other platforms in July. Apple probably paid a lot of money for the exclusive. This is just a short term issue. Long term everything will be available online and on as many platforms as possible.

      The WWE ended up lowering the price of their service I wonder if HBO will have to do the same At some point. In the world of $8 to $10 services…. $15 becomes easy to cancel once your favorite show is over.

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    8. minty,

      Short answer: Because HBO makes more money with partnerships like the one with Apple. If it were more profitable to cut out the middle man and sell directly to us they would.

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    9. minty,

      Do u remember how HBOGo crashed when Season 4 premiered?

      Yea, they need a provider with the resources to stream on this kind of global scale.

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    10. minty:
      Uggghh why don’t they just make HBO Now available worldwide for $15 and everyone’s problems would be solved. No need for cable providers or satellite TV anymore, no country boundaries with lots of expensive sub-providers in between milking the cash cow (I’m looking at you SKY europe). The internet is global but everyone’s still trying to build walls ‘for’ the people

      Several reasons, actually.

      1) Cost. Which explains 2…
      2) Partnership means someone else pays your cost.
      3) Different regions have different laws. Some of these laws are super stupid and end up costing you more to enter the market than you can ever make from it (at least in certain aspects).
      4) The exclusivity with Apple is probably more profitable than any other option while also…
      5) Providing the service with a greater level of guarantee that IT WILL WORK now that people are paying for it and not receiving it as an added bonus to their cable service.

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    11. While it’s a nice idea, my cheapest option (Germany) is to pay 889€ for 3 years of Pay-TV (1249€ for HD), which could be labelled “piracy” as well, as in robbing the customer. Also, it’s mostly owned by Rupert Murdoch and hell-bent on destroying the traditional Bundesliga schedule, so supporting it would really gnaw at my conscience more than filesharing does.

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    12. Kind of surprised to see France in the mix as OCS (the channel broadcasting GoT) based the last two months of their ad campaign on the fact that they would show the episode 24h after the HBO broadcast.

      One would think they would have wanted to base it on the simultaneous thing instead…

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    13. Wow thats cool. MNET in South Africa is where they show GOT, and last season they were only a week behind the US Premiere, I think they showed it on a Friday night.

      That being said, they are still missing China and India, the two biggest pirate nations on earth, so I predict S05E01 to yet again break piracy records.

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    14. Holly. Crap!!! That is insane…in a good way! I cannot remember any other event, other than some international political or sporting event, getting such global coverage and having such a massive reach…ok maybe all those relief/international aid concerts…

      Usually we tend to associate this type of exposure with perhaps the Olympics or the World Cup…not a TV show!!!

      I guess this speaks to the impact and relevance that “Game Of Thrones” has had in such a short span on popular culture! And the legions of fans, Sullied and Unsullied, it has gathered in the process!

      Well this is all fine by me! Winter Is Coming!

      PS I find I’ve completely immersed myself Martin’s “ASOIF” massive compendium book, “The World Of Ice And Fire”! Haven’t had this much fun reading in awhile! The chapters on the conquest of Westeros by the Targaryens, the one on Aegon The Conqueror and the Targaryen Kings is fascinating…and they read soo true, that when I put the book down, I have to remind myself…that it isn’t…because it’s surely a better read than many “real history” books!

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    15. Sean,

      It’s not as simple as you think. HBO probably had to latch on to some big partner company to allow this to happen in the first place, and Apple was the simplest/most economic solution.

      Johan Sporre,

      My provider here in Israel has been live streaming since season 3, which is pretty awesome. I only ever watched the season 4 finale live… You think you’re up for waking at 4 am but you aren’t really.

      It’s fun to watch in the morning with breakfast, though.

      OT: the site is constantly forgetting my username and email

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    16. Hmmm, no news about whether this will work in Japan.

      Hint to HBO: I WANT to pay you money. Figure out how to make it happen.

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    17. wvberry,

      Ok so to sign up you just need to find someone with an Ipad or Iphone and use it to create your account and then you’re good to go. You can watch it on any browser by going to HBONow.come.

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    18. Does this mean that you’ll be able to watch the episode immediately after it has aired too? Like, here in Sweden the episode would air at 03:00. But after that, will you be able to watch it immediately afterwards? Or will it rake a few hours to upload the episode? Can someone who know this please answer.

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    19. Nodor:
      It’s incredibly silly that HBO wants to be so inclusive with its content, but choose to exclude a large number of people who don’t have Apple products.I know they’ll probably expand to other platforms later on, but you can bet your ass they ain’t doing it until Season 5 ends.

      Yeah, this sort of thing really pisses me off. It’s a matter of principle, of treating your customers fairly, and not favoring some over others. This exclusivity deal might have gotten HBO a bunch of cash in the short term, but it lost them a lot of goodwill from their customers and potential customers.

      I’m currently an HBO subscriber, but I’ve been considering dropping cable and switching to this service since rumors about it started showing up. Now I’m considering dropping the cable and switching to piracy in protest of the exclusivity deal, because I don’t want HBO getting any more of my money.

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    20. Matt,

      I’d take this as a reference to their standard broadcast schedules only. It’s a non-reveal statement, simple confirmation about schedules.
      Considering how well last year’s premiere went, and that Sky Deutschland, Italia, and New Zealand are already on board, it would seem absurd, ludicrous, stupid, lack-witted and whatever else you’d like to call it for Sky Atlantic not to be there for UK.
      Methinks Tower of London premiere event for any announcement regarding simulcasts. Why let the cat out of the bag before?

      Last year, I watched the simulcast AND the normal scheduled show. I’d do the same this year too.

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    21. loco73:

      PS I find I’ve completely immersed myself Martin’s “ASOIF” massive compendium book, “The World Of Ice And Fire”! Haven’t had this much fun reading in awhile! The chapters on the conquest of Westeros by the Targaryens, the one on Aegon The Conqueror and the Targaryen Kings is fascinating…and theyread soo true, that when I put the book down, I have to remind myself…that it isn’t…because it’s surely a better read than many “real history” books!

      Did you check who the ‘author’ of this book is? I don’t mean GRRM, Elio and Lynda, although it is their work. It’s done from the perspective of a maester, as an educational book. You’ll find ‘side-bars’ too. This maester’s eye-view is really a very clever angle. That doesn’t diminish the book’s value in any way. I think it enhances it, and keeps faith with how things would’ve been…. and were.
      Real History has divergent views on various familiar events. Look at what’s been happening with very recent archaeological finds. New evidence comes to light to change what was apparently set in stone.

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    22. Awesome! Now nightowls like me wont have to wait an hour to download and then watch again later the same day on TV… you can actually watch on TV right away (without the stupid subtitles i hope though it beats dubbing which is even worse).

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    23. It’s a step in the right direction, but with all those exclusivity deals worldwide, I don’t think we’ll see massive drops in illegal downloads. Who would go through the hassle of switching internet providers or buy an Apple product for just one show? Buying the box set afterwards to settles one’s conscience and support the show still seems like the most practical solution for many…

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    24. Matt:
      Sky Atlantic have confirmed the UK will not be participating, “so fans can watch, enjoy and discuss the show together”.

      Whatever that means…

      https://twitter.com/skyatlantic/status/575350457306103808

      And Sky have signed up with HBO for exclusivity for the UK so no other options to deal with HBO directly here except to pay through the nose and not exclude the greedy middle man. Great, no wonder folks turn to “alternative supply”.

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    25. ace,

      Cool to see Arya as Cat from up-close! And Dany’s cool dragon necklace, which is kinda like her three-dragon crown in the books. And the video is hilarious, especially Dinklage summing up Breaking Bad instead of GoT.

      Looking forward to reading the whole issue. As for the weddings, we know of two for sure, and another one maybe.

      Tommen and Margaery, Daenerys and Hizdahr, and maybe Ramsay and someone else? Sansa, if you believe the theories.

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    26. Casso,

      “HBO should release a way to subscribe without a cable subscription”

      *HBO does so*

      “I’m not going to pay for it because they had to partner with Apple in order to pull it off.”

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    27. Delta1212:
      Casso,

      “HBO should release a way to subscribe without a cable subscription”

      *HBO does so*

      “I’m not going to pay for it because they had to partner with Apple in order to pull it off.”

      The whole point of having a standalone online distribution platform is to get away from these sorts of back room deals.

      Before Internet video streaming was an option, making deals with cable companies was understandable and necessary. It just wouldn’t be feasible for each channel to run their own cable to each house and provide a separate service, so the content providers had to make backroom deals with the companies that could deliver the content. It was frustrating that you could sometimes lose channels because of business disputes between the cable company and the content provider, but there wasn’t a better option.

      What makes Internet streaming better is that this sort of back room deal is no longer necessary. Content providers can make the content available to anyone with an internet connection, regardless of what ISP they get service from, or what brand their computer or tablet or phone is. This kind of exclusivity deal defeats the whole purpose. It just trades back room deals between HBO and Comcast for back room deals between HBO and Apple.

      Provide a service that I can actually use on all my devices, and I’ll pay for it. Make backroom deals to try to push devices I don’t want, and I’ll resent it. It’s not complicated.

      The cable deals were at least understandable relics of an obsolete era. This is just propagating the worst elements of that earlier era into newer technology. Not only is it annoying, it also sets a bad precedent for others. Do you really want a world where some content is only available on Apple products, some only on Google products, and some only on Amazon products, so you need three different boxes on your TV if you want to watch them all?

      That’s the sort of thing that video game consoles do with exclusive game titles, and it looks like that’s the direction Apple wants to push TV viewing. Is that where you want TV viewing to go? Apple, Google and Amazon fighting it out by making back room deals for exclusive access to the content you want, rather than by trying to make a better product?

      The pirate versions will play on any device. I have no problem paying for the content, but I want the kind of flexibility that the pirate versions provide, and they’re still not providing that.

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    28. I’ve been waiting for this moment for quite a while. For the past two or three years, “Game of Thrones” has been the only remaining TV show that I’ve continued to pirate, and that has been solely because HBO has never given me the ability to pay them for it. By way of comparison, I don’t get BBC America, either, but they make each new episode of “Orphan Black” available for purchase thru the iTunes Store the day after it airs, so I don’t want or need to pirate it. Glad to see that HBO is finally waking up to the realities behind content theft. Some people will always pirate content, of course, but some of us would rather reward the people who create content worth consuming.

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