HBO changed its policy for reviewers covering Game of Thrones after an embarrassing leak of the first four episodes of season five hitting torrenting sites days before the premiere. Even with this change in policy and shutdown of torrenters in Canada, the piracy numbers continue to soar, with the recent fifth episode setting a new TV show record.
In 12 hours, the fifth episode of Game of Thrones “Kill The Boy” had been torrented over 2.2 million times, according to torrenting monitor service Excipio. That’s quite a large amount of people worldwide that love Game of Thrones, but not enough to acquire a subscription for HBO Now, or Sky/Now TV in the UK.
HBO is still having trouble making Game of Thrones available both online and through cable/satellite in some countries, meaning the only choice for fans of the show is to torrent, unless they plan to wait months for the TV show to come out on box set.
New deals in the UK and other European countries allow Game of Thrones to air close to the US time. In the UK, Now TV uploads the newest episode in a few hours, alongside Sky Atlantic also showing the latest episode the day after the US.
Still, the cheapest way to watch Game of Thrones legally is through Now TV, which costs £6.99 and has a lack of on-demand content when compared to services like Netflix, Hulu Plus and Prime Instant Video. It is a better deal than the American ‘HBO Now’, which costs $15 (£10) for HBO’s even smaller catalogue of TV shows, but customers still seem abrasive when free options are available within minutes of the show airing in the US.
HBO has not done themselves any favours, actively embracing the torrenting community when Game of Thrones was in its first seasons. The studio is less excited about torrenting these days, with reports HBO is working with Internet service providers to actively stop torrenters in their tracks.
Game of Thrones has accelerated the plot that George R.R. Martin has wrote for ‘A Song of Ice and Fire’, changing some of the narratives and merging some of the less important characters for the sake of time. In response, Martin has said he will finish his sixth novel, Winds of Winter, by 2016 in time for the sixth season of the TV show.