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Game of Thrones piracy: a wakeup call for broadcasters

April 17, 2015

Brian Morris   

Blog contributor

In recent years we have seen global examples of how viewers are taking TV schedules into their own hands with the regional releases of hit TV series Breaking Bad and Game of Thrones. Piracy has soared with an estimated 7 million episodes from the first four seasons of Game of Thrones illegally downloaded in just three months this year. In fact, research has revealed that Game of Thrones is already the most pirated television show in 2015 as new episodes were leaked last weekend ahead of the official fifth season debut.

We’re witnessing a complete breaking down of geographical boundaries and a significant loss of power over audiences and a boom in online piracy. This should be a wake-up call for broadcasters. The biggest challenge for broadcasters is: how do they make content available to global audiences in real-time and in different file formats ranging from HD TV, to tablets and smartphones to protect their content and minimise piracy?

Innovative broadcasting organisations are increasingly looking to fibre to do just this. The readily available bandwidth of fibre enables the transport of live video in higher resolutions, with more security and more potential for customisation than other methods. Fibre is also ideal for moving large video files.

Content transcoding and delivery technology in the cloud is also making headway. It enables broadcasters to move content files to the cloud and transcode them into broadcast quality formats ready for immediate transmission and secure delivery to selected destinations. This means that it is possible to make authorised content available for simulcast in HD format.

Tata Communications offers the world’s first cloud-based broadcast-quality video transcoding and delivery service with the aim of helping broadcasters and content creators transcode media files into broadcast quality formats ready for immediate delivery and transmission globally. This drastically reduces the delivery time compared with traditional solutions that rely on the physical transport of media, meaning the time to view can be reduced across all regions.

This specific solution is part of Tata Communications’ wider media ecosystem launched just this week that combines traditional video contribution services with IP-based connectivity to create a highly innovative global media platform. The new ecosystem equips broadcasters for the fast evolving landscape, enabling seamless global transport and management of content as a cloud based managed service, supporting global media distribution requirements, OTT and mobility applications.

With the right technology, broadcasters can keep pace in this complex and competitive market, minimising delivery time and regain control over their own content. With an innovative approach, broadcasters can enable viewers globally to enjoy their favourite shows without delay, ultimately eliminating the need for illegal sharing.


UPDATED ON JUNE 17: Before this week’s Game of Thrones season five finale had even aired, TorrentFreak reported the episode had already been downloaded 1.5 million times on pirate websites and that this number would surpass 10 million in just a few days. If these forecasts are correct, this episode will have been pirated more times than the first four seasons’ worth of episodes combined.

Far from improve, the piracy situation is has clearly deteriorated further, with illegal downloads growing exponentially in the space of just a few months. The pressure is well and truly on broadcasters to find more innovative methods of sharing content to satisfy the needs of viewers before they turn to piracy.

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