It seems that Salladhor Saan isn't the only pirate interested in Game of Thrones. It has just been revealed that HBO's flagship show is the most pirated TV series on the internet, racking up 4 million illegal downloads per episode.
You'd think HBO would be up in arms about this, especially considering it's a pay channel. However, it turns out HBO head of programming Michael Lombardo isn't all too concerned. He told Entertainment Weekly:
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.
Indeed, HBO appears to be reveling in unprecedented cash takings for Game of Thrones. The release of the Season two box set in February gave the company its biggest first-day home video sales of all time, selling 44% more than Season one. Digital sales also keep climbing, totaling 355,000 download purchases per episode. That's an increase of 112% from Season one.
Still, these numbers are a drop in the Narrow Sea compared to those 4 million illegal downloads. Despite this, HBO does not see it as a long-term threat. Lombardo continued:
We obviously are a subscription service so as a general proposition so we try to stop piracy when we see it happen, particularly on a systematic basis when people are selling pirated versions. [But] we haven't sent out the Game of Thrones police.
Is Lombardo being a bit too cavalier in this approach to piracy, or is it refreshing to see someone prioritizing the reaction to the show?