In words that may surprise other industry leaders, Bewkes argued that the Internet buzz generated by pirates and paying customers alike is what keeps shows like Game of Thrones, and networks like HBO, alive. Time Warner owns the HBO network, home to popular shows like Thrones, and other oft pirated shows like Boardwalk Empire and True Blood.
In fact, the word of mouth generated by piracy is a driving factor behind getting new paying subscribers to premium channels like HBO, according to Bewkes.
"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. I think you're right that Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world and that's better than an Emmy," Bewkes said to investors.
It's not the first time that people involved with the hit show have openly expressed their indifference to the piracy problem. Director David Petrarca once said that piracy actually helps the show, by generating the unquantifiable and elusive "buzz". Others involved with the show, and even the author of the books, have also accepted the piracy rate as a compliment.
For now at least, the piracy isn't hurting the bottom line, with Game of Thrones being the main attraction at HBO these days. And according to HBO's programming chief Michael Lombardo, the piracy problem is not hurting disc sales either.