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HBO Exec: Online Piracy Is “A Compliment,” Doesn’t Hurt Sales

Submitted by on April 3, 2013 – 2:57 pmOne Comment

Well this is a bit of a 180°: HBO’s president of programming said recently that illegal downloads of their shows aren’t a big deal. The statement is just the latest sign that the subscription only network is warming to the idea of making their programming more easily accessible.

In the interview with Entertainment Weekly, Michael Lombardo stated that online piracy is “ a compliment of sorts,” and that ”it certainly didn’t negatively impact the DVD sales.”

By some estimations, HBO’s Game of Thrones is the most pirated show on the internet, with four million downloads per episode. Boy Genius Report points out that the Season 2 DVDs of Thrones have set sales records.

The admission ads fuel to the argument that piracy is motivated mainly by lack of access. As I mentioned in the post on Game of Thrones piracy, many bloggers have stated that they would be happy to pay a reasonable amount for access to Game of Thrones- they just don’t want to pay for a whole HBO subscription.

Last summer, a TimeWarner executive snarkily compared this argument to paying for a health club “with just the equipment you use.”

But HBO seems ok with that idea. The network’s chief executive recently suggested that HBO GO, their online offering for subscribers, could “evolve.”

Now why would cable be opposed to that while HBO embraces it? Because HBO can increase revenue while ending their dependence on cable providers, while cable companies could suffer yet another loss as more households go online-only for their viewing.

What do you think? Would you pay for individual HBO shows and series?

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