HBO President relaxed about Game of Thrones piracy but worries about the quality


Outstanding Member
Series is still the Network's top money spinner

In an interview with Entertainment Weekly, HBO programming president Michael Lombardo has issued some unusual - and probably insightful words - on the illegal downloading of its smash series 'Game of Thrones'. Fans of the show will know that its just returned to UK screens for its third season on Sky Atlantic.

The DVD release of Season 2 set sales records for HBO and was also the most illegally downloaded TV series of 2012 but Lombardo was fairly phlegmatic about that in the interview, describing the fact as, "a compliment of sorts."

“I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts,” Lombardo said. “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.”

The show is currently HBO's top money-earner despite its widespread piracy, Lombardo confirmed. “If you look at aggregate of international and DVD sales — which are the two revenue streams we look at since we’re not selling it domestically on another platform — yes, absolutely, in terms of shows we have on now,” Lombardo said.


The executive seems more upset that downloaders will be viewing 'Thrones' on a compromised basis due to the nature of compression.

“One of my worries is about the copies [downloaders are] seeing,” Lombardo said. “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.”

Despite his seemingly relaxed attitude to the pirates, he warned that the network maintains a tough stance on such activities: “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,” he said.

According to one estimate, Thrones‘ second season finale was illegally downloaded 4.3 million times worldwide last year.


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Prominent Member
This is the right attitude.

Piracy isnt the monster failing high street retailers and greedy Hollywood executives make it out to be. Everyone has committed piracy.

Be it recording tv to a vhs or burning a dvd or downloading. You could even make a philosophical case that if you watch a movie or tv show at a friends that they bought, that by not buying it are commiting piracy as the Hollywood suits have lots money because you didnt pay for it.

You will always get people who will choose a lower quality copy and be happy as they aren't paying. But you will get those that simply cant afford the prices asked and they shouldn't have to miss out on the great things we enjoy.

Then you get the majority of people in my experience who will get a pirated copy and if the show is actually good and not just some over hyped over funded American drivel then they will later buy the dvd or blu ray.

Having such demand is a compliment and a testament to the show. The piracy numbers haven't hurt sales either as wherever I go its always selling well.

Music piracy is another thing with lower quality mp3 being the easiest to purchase which often is no better than the pirated material with physical higher quality copies getting harder to find then its no surprise people are thinking why pay for this.


Distinguished Member
It doesn't help when you've got the absurd situation where a large chunk of the subscription TV market in the UK (anyone without Sky...) can't watch it legally.

It's no wonder people reach for alternative mechanisms.

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