One could make an argument that perhaps international piracy inflates the above number, where HBO is sparingly available, especially its streaming apps such as HBO Go and Now. And while certainly this is no small portion, Game of Thrones piracy is still largely taking place within the US, where both HBO subscriptions alongside their new app HBO Now make it easier than ever to watch the show legally, even without a cable subscription. It does seem likely that HBO Now is still hitting its stride in gaining signups as the new release has been relatively quiet.
HBO has mostly held a passive stance when dealing with piracy. However just recently HBO sent warning letters to those caught pirating the first four episodes of Game of Thrones following a leak. Little has been done about this since, however, and truthfully HBO can’t do much as they merely instructed ISPs to send warning letters.
HBO’s general philosophy has always leaned toward piracy being a key marketing imitative, in that pirates are always going to pirate, but perhaps there is a chance a few of them end up legitimate, paying customers. In other words, the more people that are watching Game of Thrones, no matter the means, the better off HBO actually ends up. A small number of these freeloaders eventually end up paying, right?