Why It’s Virtually Impossible to Prevent Game of Thrones Leaks – Vulture

Game of Thrones
Photo: HBO There are lots of burning questions ahead of Sunday’s Game of Thrones series finale, including one that has nothing to do with the Iron Throne: Will the episode leak to the internet before it debuts on HBO? Despite the cable network’s best efforts to guard against it, season eight has been plagued by the premature release of episodic content. Copies of the season’s first two episodes were accidentally (and briefly) released online by two of HBO’s distribution partners, while episodes three and four were hit with leaks of still pictures and a brief clip, respectively. And while last weekend’s penultimate episode aired without any early footage finding its way on to the Internet, the odds suggest it’s more likely than not GOT will end its run with one last security breach. As frustrating as all this is to HBO and the show’s producers, the way the series is distributed makes stopping such spoilers virtually impossible. Unlike Netflix, Hulu, or other premium subscription services, HBO primarily relies on third parties to get its product to audiences, both in the United States and around the world. Domestically, while millions have signed up the network’s direct-to-consumer service HBO ....

In the United Kingdom and much of western Europe, for example, the pay cable giant’s shows find their way across the pond via Sky Atlantic, which repackages the programs for its broader service and also makes them available on its Now TV streaming platform. The fact that HBO doesn’t completely control every step of its distribution platform leaves it vulnerable to leaks like the ones we’ve seen in recent weeks. Most of the trouble has come from getting GOT to international audiences. Not too long ago, consumers outside America had to wait days or weeks to watch U.S. shows. But in HBO’s streaming era, which kicked into overdrive when HBO Now debuted in 2015, Sky and similar services have been able to drive subscriptions to their direct-to-consumer platforms by offering GOT episodes at exactly the same time they premiere in the U.S. .

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