Despite the launch of HBO's standalone streaming product HBO Now, Game of Thrones piracy has broken another download record.
Episode 5 of the new season of Game of Thrones, the first episode to air that wasn't leaked before the season premier, notched up 2.2 million downloads in only 12 hours.
The fact that ratings are up for the series, plus the fact that users were more focused on downloading just this one episode (as opposed to downloads being spread across 4 different episodes when the leak occurred), accounts for the piracy record, but teething problems with HBO Now may also be contributing.
The HBO Now app has been experiencing intermittent streaming problems due to high demand, as HBO are still trying to get their streaming infrastructure in place to meet the higher than expected demand. Users are finding problems with buffering, freezing pictures, or low quality blurry streams. The current HBO Now app also contains many bugs which has earned the app only a 2.5/5 rating on the Apple App Store.
By comparison, pirated copies are crystal clear, and available in 1080p HD. The downloads are fast and once downloaded, users do not have to contend with connection problems and can play the files offline.
The fact that pirated copies are free, while HBO Now costs $15 per month, is also a factor.
For the short term or until HBO fixes the problems with their streaming app, HBO's hit show appears set to continue the trend of record setting piracy.