Game of Thrones Premiere Piracy: A Million Downloads in Half A Day

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Game of Thrones Premiere Piracy: A Million Downloads in Half A Day

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At its peak, over 300,000 BitTorrent users were sharing the first episode of season four simultaneously.

Game of Thrones is one of the most pirated series out there, and the first episode of the latest season was no exception. According to TorrentFreak, just half a day after the episode appeared online over a million people grabbed a copy via a torrent site. At the peak of this download frenzy, over 300,000 people were sharing one of the three most popular torrents at once; over 140,000 of those were using the same torrent.

Last December TorrentFreak crowned Game of Thrones as the reigning champ of pirated TV shows for 2013, for the second year running, and it looks as if it will keep its crown this year. According to TorrentFreak's numbers, Australia is still home to the biggest bunch of pirates in the whole wide world, with 11.6% of the total coming from the land down under, 3.2% of that coming from Melbourne alone. Sydney, Brisbane and Perth are all among the top ten pirate cities. Those law-abiding folks of the U.S.A. are next up in the rankings, with 9.3% of the traffic, though none of its cities seem to have made the top ten rankings. However TorrentFreak admits it collected its data within the first 12 hours of the episode airing, which can result in a geographic bias.

Demand for the episode was so great that HBO Go crashed and burned for several hours after it aired, which made torrents all the more enticing. When this issue came up last December, HBO CEO Jeff Hawkes called the Game of Thrones piracy achievement "better than an Emmy." Maybe that's just him putting a brave face on; after all, nobody knows better than he that, whatever HBO says or does, Game of Thrones is still going to be the pirates' darling. After all, in 2013 each episode garnered 4.3 million downloads on average. Yet the situation doesn't seem to affect DVD sales, and there's a strong argument for saying that anyone who watches a popular show like this, however they watch it, becomes an ambassador for it and secures more viewers.

On a separate but not entirely unrelated note, the folks at Xbox LIVE entertainment Tweet that the latest Game of Thrones episode will be up for free on Xbox Video. Just goes to show: free suits some people just fine.

Speaking as a recent convert: you know what this show needs? More weddings. That'll drive viewer numbers through the roof ...

Source: TorrentFreak

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GoT is undoubtedly an excellent TV show.

But, to me, it's not worth the $15/mo HBO subscription fee.

So I'll just wait until it's released on Netflix.

In the meantime, Matt Lees can keep me up-to-date.

If the HBO CEO is so happy about the downloads, why did my brother get an email from his ISP based on a DCMA complaint from HBO for downloading GOT?

hey if they would just air the show in time overseas MAYBE not so manny people would pirate it , happy or not.

Australian here. and it sucks - in a world with facebook how can you not air it at the same time ? we wana see it too guys!!! our american friends see it and ruin it for us Months before we see it. its one of the big reasons i got off facebook , stop ruining mah walking dead dangit.

just saying that for the point rely , i haven't actually watched any game of thrones.

I wonder what excuses they could come up with for not releasing season 3 on dvd till nearly a year after its release? Surely the longer it takes to get it out on dvd the more money they loose on people just pirating it.

More weddings indeed.
You know, I think another one is coming up soon.
Maybe this one will be interesting too? ;)

Well, if they'd actually make it available in Europe (HBO Go is available in the Netherlands but not elsewhere I think), I'm sure a lot of people would buy it instead of pirating.

As it stands now, we have to wait almost a year before it airs on television here. And then some time before it comes out on dvd. Which also means that viewers in Europe are likely to hear spoilers everywhere on the internet before they can legitly buy it.

HBO could make their lives so much easier and more profitable if they actually gave customers outside the USA a way to give them money. Netflix has proven that if you give people quality, convenient service at a reasonable price, they will flock to it, because it's just easier than pirating the content. If they made HBO Go available worldwide, which there doesn't seen to be any reason not to do, I'm pretty sure their profit margin would increase astronomically.

I'm not personally a fan of piracy - I'm in the UK and watch Game of Thrones on Sky - but I can completely understand why people pirate it. If HBO are going to make it difficult for people to give them money, they have only themselves to blame.

Karloff:
Speaking as a recent convert: you know what this show needs? More weddings. That'll drive viewer numbers through the roof ...

Well, I believe next episode is going to feature one. Nothing could possibly go wrong this time, right?

They should realise they have a great opportunity here, they could easily release a download with a small charge per episode and make a mint off of it; I bet most of the people pirating it have no other means of seeing the show and would probably be more than willing to pay a small amount (say, 50p to 1?) for a safe and legal download.

There's probably a bunch of things preventing this that I don't know about but I'd love to see them give it a shot.

Ne1butme:
why did my brother get an email from his ISP based on a DCMA complaint from HBO for downloading GOT?

Because he didn't encrypt his download traffic obviously.

Also, the ISP probably just did it on their own.

They aren't boradcasting the show here in Sweden. It's not part of the regular network. Either you fucking make it work so that people can see it or people will find another (better) alternative way of getting it.

The people in the boradcasting channels here are complete fucking incompetent idiots

Also this:

Ickorus:
They could easily release a download with a small charge per episode and make a mint off of it; I bet most of the people pirating it have no other means of seeing the show and would probably be more than willing to pay a small amount (say, 50p to 1?) for a safe and legal download.

Whoo Melbourne, #1 at somethin in the world. I'm strangely proud, suck it Rupert!
Oh boy I am sure glad Tony's gonna put an end to all that if his own volition, without somebody who basically did his media campaign for him, influence him in any way.

Doesn't surprise me to hear it. HBO needs to refine the way they make their content available online. When I tried to find a legal way to watch GoT online last year, I was mortified to find that what I expected to be a simple "give HBO money-stream show" process actually required me to subscribe to HBO's channels in addition to paying the fee, and since I don't have any television channels at all, that would also require me to go out and get cable or satellite... and it all snowballed from there.

Frankly, the current business model HBO is using leaves the thousands of people who no longer use television in the digital age with no legal means of watching the show, outside of buying the blu-rays annually. (which I do)

What percentage of the people who downloaded it cannot watch it legally where they are in the world, you cannot complain that people download something if its not legally available where they are or they have to wait 6 months for it because reasons! In this modern day of the interwebs i should be able to pay HBO 6 a moth or something and be able to stream all of there back catalog and new shows from where ever i want when i want. But not allowing people to legally obtain something is not the best way to fight piracy is it.

MinionJoe:
GoT is undoubtedly an excellent TV show.

But, to me, it's not worth the $15/mo HBO subscription fee.

So I'll just wait until it's released on Netflix.

In the meantime, Matt Lees can keep me up-to-date.

I keep wondering how many of these torrents would be averted if HBO had a better way of distributing the program. I wouldn't ind the 15 except it also means I have to pay nearly 100 bucks for cable because that's the bare minimum "tiers" needed in my portion of the country to get up to the point of HBO. I'd pay for HBO Go, if it was a service that didn't require HBO. But I can't afford over 100 dollars in cable monthly for a few shows.

I'll be waiting for the BD/DVD copies to come out. It's worked for me so far. It's just annoying.

They are paying the iron price for their Game of Thrones.

And if HBO didn't have a lot of crap on all the time, maybe they'd be more willing to pay the gold price.

Not everyone is American, so there you go. Where I live, you either pirate it, or you catch a "secret" stream of it (which will probably involve a generous dose of gay porn at random times, courtesy of the streamer).

MinionJoe:
GoT is undoubtedly an excellent TV show.

But, to me, it's not worth the $15/mo HBO subscription fee.

So I'll just wait until it's released on Netflix.

In the meantime, Matt Lees can keep me up-to-date.

I can't confirm this, but I don't think HBO programs will ever be on netflix. It conflicts with their HBO Go. I currently know of zero titles from HBO on netflix.

But this doesn't shock me. HBO is expensive and they usually play crap 90% of the time.

Heh, Australia is just better at piracy...

...

Really great opportunity to troll pirates by releasing an ep that is missing the last 5 minutes, there. I like creative anti-piracy measures.

...

Also, very annoying that Australia is so far behind the rest of the world getting TV. K9 was filmed locally in a Channel 10/BBC co-production, shown overseas long before Australia.

The third season of H2O: Just add water was made by an Australian company in Australia and is about Australians in Australia[1], but was shown in the UK some 2 years first. And then when they put it on Australia TV, they stopped for a bit after the first few episodes.

[1] Even if they don't wear uniforms at school

No surprise there, maybe you shouldn't lock your product behind a 15$ a month paywall HBO? I'm surprised they even manage to make money at such unreasonable prices.

captcha: Have fun! exactly what I want to say to all those pirates, it's a great show, sadly too expensive for most of us

Jasper van Heycop:
No surprise there, maybe you shouldn't lock your product behind a 15$ a month paywall HBO? I'm surprised they even manage to make money at such unreasonable prices.

captcha: Have fun! exactly what I want to say to all those pirates, it's a great show, sadly too expensive for most of us

The 15 bucks a month paywall isn't the issue, its needin to be subscribed to HBO the channel thats the main issue for people. At that point its more like 115 dollars a month just to watch a single tv show. That's ridiculous.

If I could just get HBO for 10 bucks a month I so would. There's a lot of quality programmin on there, but I'm not spendin 40-50 extra dollars a month just for that programmin.

Elfgore:

I can't confirm this, but I don't think HBO programs will ever be on netflix. It conflicts with their HBO Go. I currently know of zero titles from HBO on netflix.

Not on streaming, no. But you can still get the DVDs by mail.

http://dvd.netflix.com/Movie/Game-of-Thrones-Season-1/70152478

We don't have HBO in my country, downloading it from torrents is the ONLY option we have right now until the dvd is release which I'm planning to buy as a collection, so what you suggest? wait? FUCK NO! I'm gonna pirate the shit outta it.

MinionJoe:
GoT is undoubtedly an excellent TV show.

But, to me, it's not worth the $15/mo HBO subscription fee.

So I'll just wait until it's released on Netflix.

In the meantime, Matt Lees can keep me up-to-date.

And why not? You're actually supporting the show's current and future airings by subscribing to HBO, rather than watching it contracted on Netflix (for whoever small percentage HBO collects from said contract). The average ticket for a movie is around $8 and is roughly 2 hours long max; where as the $15 a month covers 4 one-hour episodes of Game of Thrones. .....more value for your money.

Vivi22:

Ne1butme:
why did my brother get an email from his ISP based on a DCMA complaint from HBO for downloading GOT?

Because he didn't encrypt his download traffic obviously.

Also, the ISP probably just did it on their own.

Well, it wasn't encrypted, but the complaint definitely came from HBO or a company that is employed by HBO. They provided the ISP with the IP address and the ISP did a lookup and mailed him the complaint.

Deathfish15:
The average ticket for a movie is around $8 and is roughly 2 hours long max; where as the $15 a month covers 4 one-hour episodes of Game of Thrones. .....more value for your money.

Assuming I go to 2 movies a month, which I do not.

Conversely, I could say that for $15 I could get an ESO subscription. Steam says I spent 40 hours in the past 2 weeks playing games. At that rate, I could get 80 hours of entertainment value for that $15.

That's TWENTY TIMES the value of GoT.

Isn't math fun? ;)

Deathfish15:

MinionJoe:
GoT is undoubtedly an excellent TV show.

But, to me, it's not worth the $15/mo HBO subscription fee.

So I'll just wait until it's released on Netflix.

In the meantime, Matt Lees can keep me up-to-date.

And why not? You're actually supporting the show's current and future airings by subscribing to HBO, rather than watching it contracted on Netflix (for whoever small percentage HBO collects from said contract). The average ticket for a movie is around $8 and is roughly 2 hours long max; where as the $15 a month covers 4 one-hour episodes of Game of Thrones. .....more value for your money.

Or alternatively, HBO could sell the episodes at 5 dollars an episode and they would make 20 dollars a month and I wouldn't have to use their dinosaur subscription model.

However, HBO is telling us that they have enough money not to worry about it so I won't. I support the show by buying the seasons when released but I'm not going to support a scam like their subscription model. It is more money in their pocket and I feel like I am getting better value even if paying more because I don't have to keep cancelling and resubscribing like some of my friends still do.

balladbird:
Doesn't surprise me to hear it. HBO needs to refine the way they make their content available online. When I tried to find a legal way to watch GoT online last year, I was mortified to find that what I expected to be a simple "give HBO money-stream show" process actually required me to subscribe to HBO's channels in addition to paying the fee, and since I don't have any television channels at all, that would also require me to go out and get cable or satellite... and it all snowballed from there.

Frankly, the current business model HBO is using leaves the thousands of people who no longer use television in the digital age with no legal means of watching the show, outside of buying the blu-rays annually. (which I do)

The reported problem is that they believe the benefits of providing a direct and simple digital pay per episode/show method would not outweigh the negatives you will get from the disruption to their standard business model. This is just one show don't forget, while it may not be that way to many HBO is more than just Game of Thrones... though that's certainly all they are to me!

Best they can do really is let the piracy slide and count on DVD/Bluray sales to pick up the slack. Looking at the legit TV ratings and the DVD/Bluray sales they're doing pretty well here. Actually you know what would be cute? Rather than sending out 'Pay us $2000 or we'll sue you into the ground' letters, they send downloaders letters that say instead "pre-order the season # bluray set now or we will sue you into the ground (or not)". Can't think they're really bothered by people who download episodes on release then buy it later.

I live in the UK and I tried finding ways of getting it legitimately but short of changing from cable to satellite which i have no say in what do they expect me to do? Let people sub up to HBO Go ffs it can't be that hard to do. Or get Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch to fight a deathmatch maybe that might sort it out?

Darth Sea Bass:
I live in the UK and I tried finding ways of getting it legitimately but short of changing from cable to satellite which i have no say in what do they expect me to do? Let people sub up to HBO Go ffs it can't be that hard to do. Or get Richard Branson and Rupert Murdoch to fight a deathmatch maybe that might sort it out?

Pretty much that. HBO exists in Canada, but to subscribe to it I would have to pay for digital cable, and there's no fucking way in hell I'm paying $80 a month (plus the exorbitant fee for HBO itself) for TV. I'll watch it now using the only option I have left, and I'll buy the DVD set when they deign to release it a year from now to support the creators.

To have HBO Go (Which I hear doesn't work all that well anyway), I'd have to subscribe to HBO. To subscribe to HBO, I'd need to have cable. To have any practical use for cable, I'll have to have a television. That's all quite a bit more than 15 bucks a month. So, nah, I'm not gonna do any of that. Netflix is seven bucks a month and has plenty of quality content.

Make HBO Go a stand alone service, and then we'll talk.

i usually keep the newest season on the sky+ until the box set is released. Shame though, i'm willing to part with my cash for HBO's product, why do they wait nearly a year to release it. madness

If HBO didn't require a subscription to not only their awful service but also utilizing a cable company, it might be lower. Why not just have them online and allow us to pay for them that way? I just can't bring myself to subscribe to a cable company for any reason. TV is too shitty.

Oh, I'm sure the Lannisters can foot the bill.

Seriously, though, why are they surprised?

Hilarious how companies like HBO create such hype around their show that millions of people are pumped to watch it the moment it comes out, and then they can't even provide access for everyone when it does.

Thank goodness that never happens in gaming... ;)

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