Faithful followers of the Targaryens, the Starks, the dragon masters and a plethora of other characters in the fantasy-drama series “Game of Thrones” now have more reason to celebrate the wildly popular HBO series’ fifth season premiere on Sunday.
According to CNN Money, HBO launched HBO Now this week, providing an additional platform for “Games of Thrones” fans to follow the series without paying for a cable subscription.
HBO executive VP of marketing Pam Levine recognizes the importance of implementing strategies to reach out to the broad fanbase of HBO viewers. “Game of Thrones” attracted approximately 19.1 million viewers per episode last season, therefore HBO Now seemed like a “natural decision,” according to Levine:
“‘Game of Thrones’ is the biggest show in our history, so of course it made sense to time the launch of HBO Now to the new season,” Levine said in the article.
Despite this additional means of watching the show on-demand, Mashable recently named the series one of the world’s most popular illegally downloaded TV series.
According to TIME Magazine’s Helen Regan, “Antipiracy firm Irdeto found that episodes of “Game of Thrones” were illegally downloaded more than 7 million times from Feb. 5 to April 6, a 45 percent increase worldwide from the same period in 2014.”
Furthermore, it was recorded that 116,000 illegal downloads of “Game of Thrones” per day have been occurring in the year 2015, with Brazil as the top country for illegal downloading, followed closely by France and the United States respectively.
AMC’s “The Walking Dead” and “Breaking Bad” are comparable TV series that have been popular targets for illegal downloading, but “Game of Thrones” still holds first place.
However, should viewers choose to go the more honest route when it comes to binge-watching one of the entertainment world’s most highly-anticipated series, they may find solace in HBO Now, as long as it does not experience technical difficulties during the fifth season premiere as HBO Go (one of HBO’s streamlining services) had during the fourth season premiere.
To catch up on all the adventure and mishap of Season 4, TIME Magazine has it covered. Simply click the link for a recap before tuning into Season 5.