It’s a bit of a perfect storm for increasing piracy; a handful of ridiculously popular shows only available via a subscription to a premium service, and geo-restricted content preventing a larger number of international viewership.
Enter HBO, who has seen ‘Game of Thrones‘ top multiple lists as one of the most pirated shows of all time. The demand for episodes of HBO’s current bellwether has been off the charts, as anyone who has tried to illegally download an episode can attest. There are also plenty of options for finding both streams and downloads of this series.
And ‘Game of Thrones’ isn’t alone, with plenty of other HBO series creating tons of demand in the torrent market.
We discovered something interesting when doing some research into these torrent sites, finding that HBO is one of the most proactive networks when it comes to trying to keep, perhaps futilely, piracy at bay.
Here are some interesting stats regarding piracy and HBO:
- HBO has put in requests to have 21,982,590 piracy-related URLs removed from Google search results.
- HBO averages 115,474 such requests to have piracy-related URLs removed a week.
- There are 8,523 sites that HBO routinely tries to get content removed from for hosting pirated material.
- HBO itself hires out this work through a variety of anti-piracy organizations that help them protect their content online.
But does any of this work? It seems safe to say that when HBO cuts off the head of one piracy site, there are three more quickly available with episodes of anything users could want. It doesn’t seem any harder today to download an episode of ‘Game of Thrones’ than it did six months or two years ago.
So what would help?
At the end of the day, there are plenty of people who just aren’t going to pay for HBO. There are plenty of people who pirate ‘House of Cards’ and Netflix is 33% cheaper than HBO, so even a big price drop doesn’t necessarily mean much.
They could extend their streaming availability into more countries. While HBO is currently available in a large portion of countries, there are plenty still left out, and are likely major sources for pirated content as they are left with few other options.
We’re pretty convinced HBO has run plenty of numbers and determined that there’s probably some value to them in trying to stop piracy. But we are curious if they ignored the issue, which doesn’t seem to be improving from their perspective and perhaps focused on growing HBO Now’s subscriber numbers with these resources, maybe that’s the real solution.
Maybe if a major entertainment company lets piracy get too out of hand, it does greatly affect their bottom line. But for us, HBO Now has proven to be a worthy investment, making piracy entirely redundant.
We’re interested to hear your thoughts on the matter. Let us know in the comments below.