Digital Underground

HBO Thinks Illegally Downloading ‘Game of Thrones’ Is a Huge Compliment to the Network

We're being tricked, aren't we?
Not that great of quality. (Photo: Hashgram)

Not that great of quality. (Photo: Hashgram)

The highly anticipated season three opener of “Game of Thrones” is shattering download records on BitTorrent as millions of fans are pirating the fantasy sex romp to the Iron Throne. Looks like HBO’s techie-courting promotional strategy is working, just not the way they’d hope.

According to the “mind boggling numbers” collected by TorrentFreak, 160,000 people shared a single torrent within hours of it being uploaded. That created the largest swarm of users ever on BitTorrent downloading a single show, knocking off “Heroes” as the previous title holder.

TorrentFreak cites eager fans for making it the most illegally downloaded show in not only in Westeros, but in the entire world.

Outside the U.S. fans of the show sometimes have to wait a while before they can see the latest episode. HBO is trying to close these release gaps as best it can, but for some fans a few hours is already too much.

One might think HBO would be livid that fans are siphoning off their premium content for free. Think again! Michael Lombardo, the president of programming for the network, told Entertainment Weekly that he’s downright flattered by all your mooching–especially since it’s not damaging the show’s profitability.

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

In fact, Mr. Lombardo’s only concern is that thieves are getting the full cord-keeping experience:

“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,” said Mr. Lombardo to EW.

Aw, thank you, misguided cable executive! Meanwhile, you can find us on BitTorrent mislabeling “Enlightened” uploads as “Game of Thrones” in our last ditch effort to save the series.

Follow Jordan Valinsky on Twitter or via RSS. jvalinsky@observer.com