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Game of Thrones season 5 ratings are down.

Stashed in: Game of Thrones!, HBO

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So what's happening in season 5?

One explanation could be that people are turning away from the show due to controversial storylines.

Episode six of the current season notably received a lot of backlash after a storyline saw a popular character get sexually assaulted by her new husband on their wedding night. It even prompted a senator to publicly announce she is no longer watching "Game of Thrones" due to the 'gratuitous' rape. In fact, rape has become an increasingly common occurrence in the series.

But there's another explanation that could be better for HBO. In addition to HBO GO, the network also launched its new standalone streaming service, HBO Now. The network recently offered new customers to 30 days free when they signed up.

Despite the television ratings, HBO tells Business Insider in a statement the network is seeing growth in gross audience this season. A spokesperson for HBO confirms a rise in its streaming services for season five, but the network does not release numbers for individual platforms.

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