In the wake of HBO’s “Games of Thrones” being the most pirated TV show on the Internet, HBO’s programming president Michael Lombardo admits that he sees piracy as a “compliment” and has actually helped improved sales.
Having been pirated more than 4 million times per episode per episode, it seems as if piracy hasn’t deterred its DVD sales, which in February set record breaking pace by becoming the company’s biggest first-day home video release with sales of 241,000 units, an increase of 44% over season one. Moreover, sales of individual episodes reached 355,000, up 112% from season one.
“I probably shouldn’t be saying this, but it is a compliment of sorts,” Lombardo said to Entertainment Weekly. “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 being the most pirated show on television, Games of Thrones is also the network’s top money-maker.
“If you look at aggregate of international and DVD sales — which are the two revenue streams we look at since we’re not selling it domestically on another platform — yes, absolutely, in terms of shows we have on now,” Lombardo said.
The executive noted, however, that HBO’s policy remains firmly against piracy.
“We obviously are a subscription service so as a general proposition so we try to stop piracy when we see it happen, particularly on a systematic basis when people are selling pirated versions,” he said, adding that the network “hasn’t sent out the Game of Thrones police.”