Traditionally, television network executives have viewed online piracy as a plague upon humanity that needs to be eradicated. After all, people are downloading content and not paying for it! So we were a little shocked to hear what Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said recently about Game of Thrones' status as the most-pirated TV show of all time.
Time Warner is the parent company of HBO, which produces Game of Thrones. One would think Bewkes would have a problem with Game of Thrones' pirating title, but he’s actually pretty cool with it. At his company’s most recent earnings call, Bewkes said, “If you go to people who are watching it without subs, it's a tremendous word-of-mouth thing. We've been dealing with this for 20, 30 years — people sharing subs, running wires down the backs of apartment buildings. Our experience is that it leads to more paying subs.”
(We’d like to point out that when he says “subs”, he’s referring to cable subscriptions, not sandwiches.)
Bewkes went on to add, “I think you're right that Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world. That's better than an Emmy.”
Basically, Bewkes is saying that the attention the show receives from all of the people downloading it illegally is actually better for the show than if it were to win television’s most prestigious award. Either that or he just has a really low opinion of the Emmys, which would be understandable. Seriously, how is Parks and Rec not nominated for Best Comedy?
In any case, this seems like good news for pirates, since it sure doesn’t sound like Time Warner is going to be sending the galleon after them any time soon.