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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.

"I modded down, down, down, and the flames went higher." -- Sven Olsen

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