The Internet is dark and full of illegal downloads. At least it was yesterday and earlier today when someone leaked the first four Season Five episodes of HBO‘s hit show Game of Thrones. You can be sure that HBO CEO Richard Plepler is calling for someone’s head over this one. Game of Thrones is already the most pirated show on the planet and HBO carefully timed the start-up of their new streaming service HBO Now to coincide with the start of Game of Thrones Season Five. How did it all happen?
The episodes were first spotted on IPT, a private Torrent tracker yesterday. By later that evening, those files had reached the big public sites including The Pirate Bay, RARBG, and KickassTorrents. Torrent Freaks is reporting that in the first three hours of the leak, the episodes were downloaded at least 100,000 times and expectations are that it should cross the million mark some time today, if it hasn’t already.
This is going to put a huge damper on the success of HBO’s attempt at a stand alone streaming service, HBO Now. The focus was that using HBO Now people could stream HBO programs without first having to have HBO in their cable package. With half the season leaked out front, will people join HBO Now, or continue to pirate copies?
Of course now we’ll have a whole new slew of spoilers hitting Social Media from those that couldn’t wait. Word is that the leaked episodes are screeners sent to some reviewers ahead of the show’s launch date.
The quality is low, 480p which is standard television with a blurred digital watermark. The show is usually aired in 720p or 1080p through HBO. How the episodes got from a reviewer to the torrent site is unclear and may be impossible for HBO to track down at this point.
You can bet that HBO will pursue the matter as far as they can.