updated 03:50 pm EDT, Fri June 8, 2012
HBO denies standalone app despite piracy level
Game of Thrones is reportedly the most pirated series of the current TV season, with downloads nearly equaling television viewer estimates in the US, according to figures gathered by TorrentFreak. Each episode attracts an estimated 4.2 million viewers on HBO, barely surpassing 3.9 million pirated downloads. A call for HBO to introduce a standalone subscription for online access to content was dismissed by the cable television network.
Collected figures for other programs that are heavily downloaded--House, The Big Bang Theory, and Mad Men--show the download numbers to be far lower than that of US viewer numbers, with the only exceptions in the top ten being Supernatural (1.5 million downloads to 1.8 million viewers) and Game of Thrones. The first series of Game of Thrones had an average viewership of 3.4 million, lower than the number of downloaders for this series.
Some see the rampant piracy of the show to be money left on the table by HBO, leading to a Twitter-based movement called "Take My Money, HBO!" that sought for the HBO Go app to be a standalone streaming service. Despite the numbers of responses, the HBO Twitter account pointed to a TechCrunch article as an explanation for why it wouldn't happen, namely the finances from such a service would not necessarily be worth losing the support of existing network providers relying on HBO programming.