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  • Can unbundling HBO’s services help prevent illegal streaming?
  • Can unbundling HBO’s services help prevent illegal streaming?
    Bjørn Giesenbauer, Creative Commons (2012) ©
CASE STUDY

HBO Go: unbundling the cable subscription

Over 254,000 people in the UK and US torrented the Season 4 finale of Game of Thrones in just one hour. To tackle this behaviour, HBO launched HBO Go, letting people access the channel cheaply on their phone or tablet. But will it really stop people streaming illegally?

Location United States

Scope
Screened in both the US and the UK simultaneously, the Season 4 finale of Game of Thrones was watched by an estimated 7.1 million people. But almost immediately the episode was online, and 254,114 people downloaded the torrented file in just one hour. And it wasn’t just a simple low-quality rip – 108,539 people downloaded the 720p copy, while 23,922 got the 1080p copy. [1] Within 12 hours, the season finale had been downloaded 1.5 million times, which TorrentFreak says is “close to 2,000 terabytes transferred in half a day.”

The download count exceeded the ...

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