At the Perth Writer's Festival this past weekend, Game of Thrones director David Petrarca downplayed the threat of piracy to the show's success, saying that illegal downloads don't matter since shows thrive on "cultural buzz." As The Sydney Morning Herald reports, Petrarca shrugged when a panel mediator noted that Game of Thrones was the most pirated show of 2012; the show was downloaded about 3.9 million times per episode, which was more than a million downloads per episode more than the second-most pirated show How I Met Your Mother. "That's how they survive," he said.
Petrarca also touted the cable television model, reportedly saying that "everyone wants to do premium cable now." The director said that there's a "false line" between cinema and television, noting that Steven Spielberg's years-long Lincoln production could have been made in several months on HBO. Of course, HBO is in a privileged position; Petrarca reportedly noted the network's 60 million worldwide subscribers, giving it some insulation against the effects of illegal downloading.
Update: Though Petrarca seemed nonchalant about the threat piracy poses to Game of Thrones, he's making it very clear that he doesn't support stealing content. After his original remarks came under the microscope, Petrarca clarified his stance on piracy. "I am 100 per cent, completely and utterly against people illegally downloading anything," he said on Wednesday.