Following the high profile Game of Thrones piracy surge and security breach, HBO has finally decided to strengthen content security: more streaming and no more review DVDs. In other words, after years of sending out DVD screeners to journalists and critics for advance reviews of its programming, the television network has now entirely abolished the practice and replaced it with a streaming-only policy.
HBO’s executive VP of corporate communications Quentin Schaffer informed reporters about the change on Monday as last month’s leak of the highly anticipated S5 episodes of the Game of Thrones hours before its premiere has been attributed to an advance DVD screener that made its way to piracy sites. The incident violated copyright law, spoiled HBO’s antipiracy efforts (HBO Go and global simultaneous release of the season premiere), and ruined the pacing of the show for those fans who couldn’t resist illegally downloading the leaked episodes.
But the move does not only apply to Game of Thrones; the screening-only policy affects all HBO shows from now on, starting with the next set of Veep episodes. The screeners will only be available for viewing at HBO’s secure streaming site exclusive to those who have authorized press credentials.
Before the abundance of HD streaming, TV networks with streaming protocols for advance screeners were initially criticized for poor video quality.