Game of Thrones is the most pirated show on TV - and it has more to do with it than just great characters, amazing set design, and Khaleesi's boobs.
HBO does not offer a standalone streaming service. Sure, they have HBO GO - which contains pretty much every episode of every series they've ever produced. But you must have an HBO subscription through a cable provider in order to access it. That's the model that HBO has chosen to run with, and it doesn't look like they are going to change it anytime soon (at least in the States).
Now, people in the streaming video business are suggesting that HBO could seriously increase their subscriber base if they were to offer such a standalone HBO GO-style service. And when I said people in the streaming video business, I mean Netflix CFO David Wells.
GigaOm quotes Wells, speaking at a recent Goldman Sachs conference,
"We believe that if they were direct-to-consumer, there would be materially more subscribers that would pay for it in the U.S."
He went on to suggest that HBO could challenge Netflix in terms of domestic subscribers if they were to offer such a service.
Of course, it's all about cost-benefit and HBO has done their homework and made their decision. For now, the current model that ties HBO content to a cable subscription is what works for them.
Of course, that doesn't mean that the people don't want a standalone, cable-free HBO GO service. You might remember a campaign that look place last summer called "Take My Money, HBO." Tens of thousands of people flooded Twitter with pleas for HBO to, well, take their money - basically saying that they would be first in line to sign up for such a service if HBO decided to come around and offer one.
Some people said they were willing to pay upwards of $20 a month for the hypothetical service, and the average wound up being somewhere around $12.
It's not like HBO is unaware of the clamoring. HBO execs have even dropped hints that such a model could, maybe, possibly, probably but probably not, definitely could, definitely couldn't work in the future.
"But right now we have the right model," said HBO CEO Ricahrd Plepler earlier this year.
Image via HBO, YouTube