HBO Testing How Much Customers Will Endure For Game Of Thrones
HBO seems to be making a concerted effort to see just how much customers will put up with to get their Game of Thrones fix. It’s one of the most popular shows on television, but it’s also one of the most torrented, and some viewers say that they feel forced to steal episodes because of the network’s behavior.
HBO Watch reports that HBO has been typically pretty lax on people who use less-than-legitimate means to access their programming.
HBO has said they could care less if you do this because they’re in the business of building addicts. They’re happy to let you become addicted and are comfortable that when you’re finally at a place in your life where you can afford HBO, you’ll buy it.
However, HBO shut down viewing parties at a bar in Brooklyn, according to Hollywood Reporter. The network is reportedly not open to selling licenses for public showings, though this would arguably bring more viewers to the show, who may or may not eventually decide to sign up for their own HBO subscriptions.
Sorry guys. No Game of Thrones showing tonight. Or ever. Not our choice. #WinterIsHere
— VideologyBar&Cinema (@Videology) April 19, 2015
As for subscription services, HBO Now, which excited cord-cutters who thought they’d finally be able to watch Game of Thrones without a cable subscription, is currently only available for Apple fans. If you’re on Android, you have to keep waiting.
Suppose you happen to be a purchaser of HBO Now, though, one who has a nice i-product on which to watch your streaming episodes. Then let’s say you travel or move outside the U.S. You probably do what a lot of people do, once you discover that your service no longer functions: you get a VPN, essentially a work-around to allow you to continue watching.
Let’s reiterate: you make a special effort to be allowed to continue paying HBO for a service you enjoy. Well, HBO has just announced that’s too bad for you: according to BBC, customers who do so have put on notice, and will have their service cut off. That’s right: HBO is cutting off paying customers.
Suppose, then, that, driven to distraction by the barriers to getting Game of Thrones legally, you move on to a torrent site. After all, it’s been named the ‘most pirated show,’ and you probably know a site you trust to actually provide the show, and not a stack of malware. Besides, HBO says they don’t care so much, since you’ll likely be a future subscriber, right?
Nope. Sorry. Now, according to BGR, HBO is sending warnings to illegal downloaders, and contacting their ISPs to call for pirates to be punished.
There are still legal ways to watch the show, of course. You can buy an HBO package or get the DVDs when they’re released (and let’s be fair, a short technological time ago, these would’ve been your only options anyway), watch on Google Play or Amazon, as long as it’s available in your country, watch on HBO Now, if you’re in the U.S. and have an Apple device, or watch on HBO Go, as long as you’re in the U.S. and have a cable package with an HBO subscription.
Still, it seems like HBO is adding a large number of hoops for some viewers to jump through if they hope to access content. This is certainly within HBO’s rights — they certainly do not have to let people illegally download their shows, or allow viewing parties. However, they must know they’re pushing many Game of Thrones fans away. How much will people take?