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HBO says Game of Thrones 'piracy' is better than an Emmy

And that's Time Warner CEO Alan Bewkes talking
Fri Aug 09 2013, 12:20
Online Piracy

ACCORDING TO Time Warner CEO Alan Bewkes the 'piracy' buzz around Game of Thrones is a good thing, so good that it's better than an entertainment industry award.

The firm was talking about its latest financial results when it was asked about the so-called 'piracy' problem. Bewkes said it is a good thing.

"I have to admit it, I think you're right. The much discussed fantasy series is HBO's most popular TV show, and if you go to people who are watching it without subs, it's a tremendous word of mouth thing," he said, according to a post on the Game of Thrones website White Harbour.

"We've been dealing with this for 20, 30 years - people sharing subs, running wires down the backs of apartment buildings. Our experience is that it leads to more paying subs. I think you're right that Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world and that's better than an Emmy."

Game of Thrones has been unofficially crowned the king of television downloads, and is reckoned to be a million-plus downloader.

In the UK it is limited to Blinkbox, DVDs or Sky Atlantic, all of which are paid for media. Bittorrent, apparently used for many of these downloads, has taken pains to distance itself from the story.

"We don't host infringing content. We don't point to it. It's literally impossible to 'illegally download something on Bittorrent'. To pirate stuff, you need more than a protocol. You need search, a pirate content site, and a content manager. We offer none of those things. If you're using Bittorrent for piracy, you're doing it wrong," wrote Bittorrent VP of marketing Matt Mason.

"We discovered that the real king of Bittorrent isn't Game of Thrones. With 8,626,987 downloads, hands down most downloaded show of 2013 via Bittorrent is Epic Meal Time. That's nearly double the claimed downloads of the Game of Thrones finale."

You can hear Bewkes comments in a recording on the Time Warner website.

In April, HBO programming chief Michael Lombardo said that 'piracy' should be taken as a compliment.

"I probably shouldn't be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts. The demand is there. And it certainly didn't negatively impact the DVD sales. [Piracy is] something that comes along with having a wildly successful show on a subscription network," he told Entertainment Weekly.

"One of my worries is about the copies [downloaders are] seeing. The production values of this show are so incredible. So I'm hoping that in the purloined different generation of cuts that the show is holding up." µ


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