‘Game Of Thrones’ Episodes Leak: Can HBO Now Recover?

Fans of the critically acclaimed HBO series Game of Thrones don’t have to wait to find out what happens to their favorite characters. At least, not if they are willing to engage in internet piracy. That’s because the first four episodes of Game of Thrones Season 5 were leaked to the internet on Saturday ahead of the April 12 season premiere.

Piracy is nothing new for Game of Thrones. According to Variety, Game of Thrones edged out The Walking Dead for the dubious honor of most pirated television show of 2014. Until now, the pirated episodes have been uploaded to torrent sites after they air on HBO. Meaning even the most savvy internet pirate could only see one episode a week.

For the first four seasons of Game of Thrones, the powers that be at HBO took the rampant piracy in stride, calling it “better than an Emmy ” at generating free advertising for the show. That has changed this year with a concerted effort to capitalize on the popularity of Game of Thrones. As previously reported by the Inquisitr, the effort has focused on the release of a streaming app, HBO Now, that will allow users to stream HBO content without a full subscription.

The leak has reportedly been traced back to review copies which were given to the press ahead of the April 12 premiere. In a statement, representatives for HBO spoke about the leak.

“Sadly, it seems the leaked four episodes of the upcoming season of Game of Thrones originated from within a group approved by HBO to receive them. We’re actively assessing how this breach occurred.”

It’s not immediately clear how the leak has effected HBO’s strategy or the launch of HBO Now. Realistically, most viewers who intended to purchase the app, probably had done so by Saturday night to make sure things would go smoothly for the Sunday night premiere. However, given that HBO Go crashed during the 2014 premier of Season 4 of Game of Thrones, nervous fans may be tempted to download the pirated episodes rather than risk spoilers.

There have been calls, most notably from Gizmodo, for HBO to spare fans heartache and get ahead of the leak by releasing the entire season to HBO Now. If HBO chose to release the entire season, it might turn a public relations nightmare into a boon by enticing viewers still on the fence to take the $15 a month plunge.

So far HBO hasn’t commented on the possibility of releasing the entire fifth season of Game of Thrones at once.

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