Game of Thrones

How Game of Thrones Prompted The Biggest Internet Leak in TV History

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HBO’s massive hit Game of Thrones experienced what could have been certain ratings-death for any other show. Days before it’s hugely promoted season five premiere, the first four episodes of the new season were leaked to the internet.

Game of Thrones has been a hugely successful franchise for the network. Inspired by a massively popular series of novels, the show has drawn a wide audience and a frenzied fandom. Hence, the show has had a long problem with internet piracy. Since HBO is a paid cable subscription network, many fans who don’t subscribe resort to downloading the show illegally instead of obtaining it outright.

However, even with a history of piracy and this massive leak, there is no end in sight for the success of Game of Thrones for HBO. Here are five things to keep in mind when it comes to Game of Thrones and internet piracy.

Despite The Leak, HBO Broke Records

Even despite the leak, HBO’s season five premiere of Game of Thrones was the biggest premiere in the network’s history. A staggering eight million people tuned into the first-run airing. The series has consistently broken its own records with each new season, even despite the fact that the piracy issue is only growing.

The Leak Caused Buzz

HBO didn’t want viewers to be able to illegally download content that wasn’t yet intended for release. However, on the eve of the leak, Twitter and social media was abuzz with chatter about the huge incident of piracy. Game of Thrones was a big trending topic. While this was certainly never HBO’s intention, in an odd way, the leak caused a lot of publicity.

HBO’s Online Streaming Service is Growing

Despite the increase in online piracy, HBO is experiencing continued success with its online HBO Go platform. While it is currently only available as an online extension for those who subscribe through their cable company, there are rumors that HBO Go may become its own entity, available to non-cable subscribers. That would make it a worthy competitor to giant Netflix, which is available online independent of any cable subscriptions.

Not All Fans Liked The Leak

Game of Thrones is an extremely fan-driven show, the kind of powerhouse that inspires conventions, fan clubs and online forums. Many fans on social media platforms like Reddit and Facebook expressed disdain for the leak, as their preferred method of viewing is on a weekly basis while communicating with other fans online. While the piracy was undoubtedly enjoyed by some, plenty of loyal fans viewed it as an act of disrespect to their beloved franchise and refused to partake.

At The End of The Day, HBO Gets The Last Laugh

Despite this massive piracy, HBO ultimately got the last laugh. With one of the biggest shows on television calling its network home and a burgeoning online platform, HBO is truly thriving. Other hits for the network, like True Detective and Girls, are also keeping interest in the network alive.

Bottom line, the leak could have destroyed the ratings for the network’s season five premiere. However, thanks to giant popularity and fan loyalty, HBO enjoyed phenomenal numbers for its Game of Thrones premiere. It will be interesting to follow this story and see how ratings for the series continue in coming weeks and if HBO can sustain the series’ massive popularity with its loyal fans and viewers.

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