If you haven’t heard the news yet, HBO has recently been the victim of a cyber attack resulting in hackers reportedly acquiring 1.5 terabytes of data from the network. According to sources, the information, which has already been placed online, includes upcoming episodes of Room 104 and Ballers, as well as written information regarding Game of Thrones. HBO has not confirmed just what information has been hacked but those responsible for the breach have promised more details to come. For more details on the hack, you can check out Entertainment Weekly’s report here. This news all follows on the tail of HBO announcing that it would be making attempts to stop online piracy. For more information on that, I recommend reading this article from Screen Rant.
But the big question hanging over this recent news is what it means for Game of Thrones. The hackers seem convinced that they’re actions mark a revolutionary turning point in this modern war on piracy, announcing the hack with the following statement according to Entertainment Weekly:
“Hi to all mankind. The greatest leak of cyber space era is happening. What’s its name? Oh I forget to tell. Its HBO and Game of Thrones……!!!!!! You are lucky to be the first pioneers to witness and download the leak. Enjoy it & spread the words. Whoever spreads well, we will have an interview with him. HBO is falling.”
…Is it really though? Earlier this year, hackers failed to ransom Netflix after acquiring several episodes of the network’s flagship series, Orange is the New Black, months before it was planned to air. Netflix did little in response to the theft, proving that the hackers fundamentally misunderstood the landscape of modern entertainment streaming and the people who watch them.
Now in its seventh season, Game of Thrones has a loyal throng of fans who flock to their televisions every Sunday night in order to indulge in the lush world of Westeros. This makes their theft – of apparently only written material – far less impactful. No matter what spoilers might be available to read, most fans tune in to watch The Song of Ice and Fire world come to life across screens big and small, not to read an vagie outline of script details or an episode blurb.
Also like Netflix, many HBO viewers don’t pay their monthly fees or cable subscriptions in order to watch a single show. People won’t be cancelling their cable or HBO Now subscriptions over reading a hand full of spoilers. The network has a rich catalogue of their own original content and movies new and old for the cost of dinner, meaning most people already subscribe to the online service year round.
Another hitch in the hackers plans is that many fans of Thrones tune in each week for the experience of it – Sunday night pre-show dinners, live tweets of the show, and post episode forum discussions. Game of Thrones isn’t just a show, it’s a weekly event for even casual fans of the series.
Whatever fight these hackers think they might have won is nothing but a bump in the road for the television giant that is HBO. Just like when Season 5’s first four episodes were leaked shortly after the season’s premier, this will be a minor hiccup for Season 7, which is already nearing its halfway point. Viewers who truly want these spoilers will seek them out if they desire them but it won’t compare to watching the events unfold before them and it sure isn’t going to hurt HBO’s bottom dollar.