HBO has told The Verge it will make all new episodes of its original programming, including heavily pirated hit series Game of Thrones, available to its international markets within a week after new episodes air in the United States. HBO senior vice president of corporate affairs Jeff Cusson first told Forbes about the change in reference to Game of Thrones earlier this week, saying the season three premiere would be available in all 176 of HBO's international markets one week after it airs on March 31, or within the first week of April. That differs from previous seasons of HBO shows including Game of Thrones, which took weeks or sometimes even months to reach international audiences.
The change is not in response to piracy or new policy at HBO, but due to a technical upgrade
But now sources at HBO explained to The Verge that the shortened window for international availability will apply to all new seasons of HBO's original series, subject to the local scheduling of each of HBO's partners. The actual delivery platforms will vary by market as well, with streaming content being made available through HBO Go in those countries that currently have the streaming service.
Sources within the company, which is owned by Time Warner, said that the change wasn't made in response to piracy of Game of Thrones or any other show, and did not come as a result of a change of policy. They said HBO has always wanted to make its programming available to international viewers as fast as possible after airing in the US, but has only now developed the technical infrastructure to allow it. The sources declined to specify what HBO had changed about its technical architecture to allow this shorter international availability window.
Update: Our HBO sources also wanted to point out that HBO is giving all of its 176 international markets the option to air Game of Thrones as soon as the US premiere airs, meaning some markets will be showing it simultaneously with the US on March 31, but at the latest, all should be showing it within the first week of April. Check your local HBO provider for more details.