HBO Co-President thinks Cord Cutting a FadHBO has a bit of a piracy problem. Its shows are immensely popular, well-crafted tales that everyone wants to watch. For a startlingly large number of people, that means that they steal their shows.
Last season ‘Game of Thrones’ was the second-most stolen show online, while season 6 of Dexter was in first place. This season ‘Game of Thrones’ is in the lead by a large margin. Forbes writer Andy Greenburg reports that:
“the second season of the show has been downloaded more than 25 million times from public torrent trackers since it began in early April, and its piracy hit a new peak following April 30th’s episode, with more than 2.5 million downloads in a day.”For a show that only averages 2-4 million viewers for a newly-aired episode, well, that’s pretty significant.
Much of the problem is due to how hard it is to get HBO content. If you live in an area with HBO, you can sign up for their content, but you must have a cable subscription first (essentially doubling the price you pay for it). Much of the world, however, doesn’t have cable operators who have partnered with HBO. If you live in those areas of the world, well, you’re out of luck unless you pirate the show.
Despite this terrible state of affairs, HBO’s co-president Eric Kessler doesn’t seem to think that there is a problem. In fact, he seems to feel that the move away from cable is a fad or a “temporary phenomenon.” He feels that the current state of piracy and declining levels of cable adoption are due to “macro-economic factors” rather than a shift away from the traditional cable model.
He may have a point. But that doesn’t mean the shift isn’t changing how people feel about cable. Hulu and Netflix, even with how neutered they have become thanks to TV stations withholding much of their best content, are growing in popularity. A while back we reported that more movies were being consumed digitally than through physical disks, now. That isnt a change that is going to reverse.
There are some very real obstacles to HBO going digital, making its amazing HBO Go app available to those without cable. And I can understand why HBO would want the existing cable model to continue to be viable. But the company needs to adapt. HBO is in a perfect position to make itself the next powerhouse network. All they have to do is reach out and embrace the digital fruit.