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Michael Lombardo
Piracy didn't hurt DVD sales according to HBO exec

Entertainment Weekly recently conducted an interview with Michael Lombardo, HBO's President of Programming. During the interview, EW asked Lombardo about the rampant piracy of HBO's hit series Game of Thrones, which is now in its third season.

The series is incredibly popular with HBO’s subscribers, and during 2012 Game of Thrones was ranked as the most illegally downloaded TV series of the year.

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

Despite the rampant piracy, Game of Thrones is HBO’s highest earner on a per-season basis.

Even though piracy hasn’t really put a dent in HBO’s pocketbook, Lombardo isn’t entirely happy with Game of Thrones piracy on internet, citing quality concerns. "One of my worries is about the copies [downloaders are] seeing,” Lombardo worried. “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.”

But while Lombardo’s opinion of piracy is rather refreshing to hear from a high-ranking network executive, HBO corporate policy remains anti-piracy. However, torrent downloaders don’t have to start looking over their shoulders just yet as Lombardo says, “No, we haven’t sent out the Game of Thrones police.”

Interestingly, a study published earlier this year claimed that nearly half of all Americans pirated content online. The report also noted that people who pirate TV shows and movies also tend to purchase more content legally than others.

Source: Entertainment Weekly

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If I didn't read this on April 1st...
By xenol on 4/1/2013 10:47:19 AM , Rating: 5
A higher up who not only took the piracy in stride, but is worried that the pirates aren't getting the same quality as they could've if they watched it on HBO?

Did I wake up in some kind of Twilight Zone?

RE: If I didn't read this on April 1st...
By mcnabney on 4/1/2013 12:09:30 PM , Rating: 3
You would think that they would find some way to distribute it online for a fee. Pay $10/mo for HBO online. There are plenty of cable-cutters that would happily pay it. Right now the only choice is wait for the DVD (which I do) or download it illegally.

By dgingerich on 4/1/2013 2:03:02 PM , Rating: 2
I would SO pay for that, even if they went up to $15/month. I love GoT, but I was sick of the $109/month Comcast was charging me for what basically amounted to Dr Who and GoT. I was watching everything else I watch online through Hulu. So I cancelled cable back in November. I was just going to wait through season 3 and buy it on Bluray.

RE: If I didn't read this on April 1st...
By ClownPuncher on 4/1/2013 3:08:09 PM , Rating: 2
I wouldn't. That's more than Netflix/RedBox. I would pay $5 per month, though.

RE: If I didn't read this on April 1st...
By Spuke on 4/1/2013 4:16:07 PM , Rating: 2
I'd pay the $15/month for just HBO through like HBO Go or something. IMO, they've always had quality programming (at least their original series shows) and I'm more than willing to pay for it.

By ClownPuncher on 4/1/2013 6:44:24 PM , Rating: 2
Yes, but I'm a cheap Scotsman. I really enjoy a couple of their shows, but even at $10 a month I'd cancel every time my shows were in the off-season.

RE: If I didn't read this on April 1st...
By CharonPDX on 4/1/2013 3:09:34 PM , Rating: 2
Or just made it available on iTunes/Amazon/et al a day or a week after airing like many other shows, not a year later...

I want to watch Game of Thrones, I am willing to pay for it. Just give me a way to do so in a reasonable timeframe, for a reasonable price, and I'll do it.

Even if it's $2.99 an episode on iTunes, 8 days after it airs.

By andrewaggb on 4/1/2013 6:44:04 PM , Rating: 2
It would have to be available the same day for me. I would not accept 8 days later. But for a show I like, $3/episode (assuming this is to keep it, not renting it for 24 or 48 hours...) is reasonable and I could go for that.

I want to download it in HD (720 or 1080p), the latest blu rays I've bought with their digital copy use ultraviolet/flixster or something and it was crap. Like garbage beyond belief. The quality was way worse than dvd even. And I don't think I could download it.

Also skip the DRM so I can share it via DLNA to my xboxes, smart tv's, and tablets using plex or serviio and not have to hookup a laptop to my tv and watch it in itunes... I may be willing to accept DRM if they provide a dlna server that can stream it to existing devices and it's re-downloadable if my computer crashes and there are no expiry limits.

Quite honestly I don't get the DRM anyways, the content is always available on torrent sites within a few minutes of airing on tv. If people want it for free, they can get it for free easily, regardless of any drm you put on streaming and downloads. I buy dvd's and blu rays and either rip them myself or torrent them after anyways so I can have a usable digital copy that works with all my devices from my media server. I feel lame buying discs I don't want in an attempt to support the companies producing media I like, when I would really rather support them by buying what I actually want. But they won't sell me what I want. It's ridiculous.

By A11 on 4/1/2013 10:41:08 PM , Rating: 2
You would think that they would find some way to distribute it online for a fee.

It's not about finding a way, it's about wanting to do it. In Scandinavia we have HBO online (

By HostileEffect on 4/1/2013 1:12:51 PM , Rating: 2
Given that an HD torrent can be had in 30Mins - some hours and is in native 1080P with 5.1 AC3/DTS audio, I wouldn't sweat quality.

Usually media on disc, unless its a ridiculous $30 blu-ray, is sub par to even a cheap HDTV airway rip.

Only reason
By mevans336 on 4/1/2013 10:31:17 AM , Rating: 3
GoT is the only reason I subscribe to HBO. When the season is over I'll just cancel it again until next season.

RE: Only reason
By wingless on 4/1/2013 10:39:11 AM , Rating: 2

I can't wait to buy it all on Blu-ray as a complete set when the series is finished.

RE: Only reason
By Mitch101 on 4/1/2013 12:24:41 PM , Rating: 2
We do the same for Dexter on Showtime. Otherwise the free weekends contains enough content that you don't need the movie channels for several months.

RE: Only reason
By kleinma on 4/1/2013 1:52:27 PM , Rating: 2
I get HBO GO for free due to a loop hole in their system that I don't want to divulge for fear of them doing something about it and taking it away. I was happy to see that episode 1 was available pretty much right away last night on HBO Go.

RE: Only reason
By Reclaimer77 on 4/1/2013 8:17:16 PM , Rating: 2
It's a good show, but to me it's not THAT good to go through all that. HBO is overpriced obviously.

Meah I just pirate. Oh look, the season 3 premiere is already available. Woohoo.

Not sure why
By Ammohunt on 4/1/2013 11:08:24 AM , Rating: 2
This second season was such an anemic version of the story like they left in all the T&A story elements and left out the truly story enhancing details. I am not sure how anyone that hasn't read the books could understand whats going on these episodes need to be 2-3 times as long. Lets hope someone else takes this series of book up again and does them the justice they deserve.

RE: Not sure why
By kattanna on 4/1/2013 11:12:23 AM , Rating: 2
ahh.. as someone who has not read the books.. i did find the 2nd season confusing as to who is who and what not.

the only 2 lines i could follow and enjoy.. the midget and his antics.. and the little blond dragon queen girl

RE: Not sure why
By FastEddieLB on 4/1/2013 1:55:57 PM , Rating: 2
I haven't read the books either but I've been able to follow the different plot threads pretty well. Tyrion Lannister, Danerys Targeryan, Robb Stark, John Snow, Theon Greyjoy, tons of different plot threads going on. I will say I was highly annoyed at John Snow's stupidity in season 2, though I'm told that his stupidity was actually something he was ordered to do in the books, which would have made it a lot more tolerable for me.

Put it on Netflix
By mattclary on 4/1/2013 10:57:53 AM , Rating: 2
End of message

RE: Put it on Netflix
By MaulBall789 on 4/1/2013 1:40:47 PM , Rating: 2
Not likely seeing as how HBO views Netflix as a direct competitor once Netflix started creating original content. Would be nice though.

Finally a voice in the wilderness
By mike66 on 4/1/2013 10:58:52 AM , Rating: 2
Smartest man alive, give him a Nobel peace prize for also being the most sensible person in the media industry.

It looks great
By fishman on 4/1/2013 11:32:10 AM , Rating: 2
I've got the BDs of the first two seasons, and they are amazing on a good plasma TV.

By alpha754293 on 4/1/2013 1:40:29 PM , Rating: 2
This...makes me want to watch Games of Thrones (and no other reason).

He's right though
By BifurcatedBoat on 4/1/2013 5:30:33 PM , Rating: 2
In the end, people pirating the show will probably make HBO more money than if they didn't.

There will be some people who will watch the first couple seasons, get into it, and then want to see the new shows as soon as they become available - prompting them to decide to sign up for HBO.

By JKflipflop98 on 4/2/2013 2:45:48 AM , Rating: 2
This is obviously some sort of mummer's farce.

By Scootie on 4/2/2013 3:59:54 AM , Rating: 2
I came upon this show by sheer luck. I saw some trailer, the ending for the second season with Sam and the white walkers(The Others)so I went to IMDB to check about the series and when I saw the rating I knew it had to be something worth to try. But w/o HBO which is expensive where I live I had to download and watch the first 2 seasons. Later I bought the books cause I didnt have enough patience to wait for the series. So instead of HBO I made some profit for the writer/publisher.

Don't worry, Mr.Lombardo
By Netscorer on 4/1/13, Rating: 0
"What would I do? I'd shut it down and give the money back to the shareholders." -- Michael Dell, after being asked what to do with Apple Computer in 1997

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