Season four of “Game of Thrones” has proven a massive success. Ratings are through the roof for the network, with the audience only expected to grow as the show pushes forward. “Thrones” has also proven to be a hit among non-HBO subscribers, as the show has become one of the most pirated programs of all time.


(Related: Series Recommendation: Game of Thrones)


The second episode of the new season, “The Lion and the Rose” in which a major event known as the “Purple Wedding” takes place, was downloaded 1.5 million times in the first day of its release on the internet, and a single file was shared nearly 200,000 times, according to piracy-tracking website TorrentFreak. No other file has ever been shared that many times simultaneously.


(Related: Game of Thrones Episode Recap: Breaker of Chains)


One would think that HBO would be upset about this development. It is, after all, their content which is being consumed free of charge by millions of people. The company has said recently that they try to prevent piracy if and when it occurs, but last year, programming director Michael Lombardo commented on the issue in an interview with Entertainment Weekly, saying piracy “is a complement 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.”


It is hard to blame HBO for taking a fairly lax stance on the issue when they are still pulling in so much money from all of their programming. Though, it is odd that the company has failed to do more to prevent such rampant piracy. It seems the obvious method would be to open up HBO Go subscriptions — an online streaming service for HBO programming, which is available only to those consumers who already pay for HBO through their cable company — to those who do not have access to the channel on cable.


This has been something consumers have wanted for years. People clearly want access to what HBO is selling; if given the avenue to do so, consumers will almost certainly purchase HBO’s product. Will it get rid of piracy completely? Of course not, but it will go along way and make for an extremely happy group of customers.


Thus far, HBO seems to have no intention of making HBO Go available to everyone.



What do you think about this new piracy record by “Game of Thrones?” What could HBO do to prevent the theft of their product? Let me know in the comments below, or reach out to me on Twitter @TuckerPoikonen.