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How To Watch Game of Thrones For Free on HBO Go

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Essentially, get someone who already has an HBO Go account to share their password with you.

Apparently HBO doesn't care:

All you need to do is find a family member, or a friend, with an HBO subscription, get their username and password, and boom, you can watch all of HBO's excellent programming through the web.

A lot of people have known about this for years, but it's starting to get mainstream attention.

BuzzFeed wrote about it a few weeks ago, and today, the New York Times is writing about it.

The New York Times asked HBO how it feels about the password sharing. On the record, it seems like HBO is pretty much shrugging.

But to the collective relief of nearly everyone I know, the companies with whom I spoke seemed to have little to no interest in curbing our sharing behavior — in part because they can’t. They have little ability to track and curtail their customers who are sharing account information, according to Jeff Cusson, senior vice president for corporate affairs at HBO. And, he said, the network doesn’t view the sharing “as a pervasive problem at this time.”

This is a great opportunity for HBO. It can get users hooked on its shows, then crack down on password sharing eventually, and hope that a high percentage of those people feel compelled to pay for HBO.

Or, alternatively, the people sharing HBO passwords are young, and unable to afford HBO. When they get older, they'll be willing to pay for HBO.

Why HBO won't just sell HBO Go is beyond me.

And why Game of Thrones episodes aren't available on iTunes immediately is also beyond me.

Because cable/satellite companies...

If HBO gets X million cable subscribers, then cable companies are forced to pay Y dollars per subscriber to HBO.

If HBO sells HBO GO separately, then HBO subscriber numbers (X) goes down and then Y goes down.

Thus HBO is incentivized to keep the number of cable subscribers high, because it gives them leverage to keep Y high.  They did the math... HBO knows that they can't currently sell enough GO subscriptions to overcome the profit loss of a smaller Y number from cable companies.

They also know that as time goes on, the market for GO subscriptions increases.  It's just not increasing fast enough...

So in summary, offering HBO GO separately would increase total subscribers, but significantly lower average revenue per subscriber.

Therefore HBO is creating more incentive for people to download Game of Thrones torrents.

That doesn't sound like a win-win.