And it has a weekly problem:
Hundreds of thousands of viewers reported outages on HBO's flagship apps (HBO Now, HBO Go) for the first few episodes of Game of Thrones.
HBO: "HBO Go is unavailable at this time."— BuzzFeed (@BuzzFeed) May 2, 2016
me: so is my patience.
Sure, it's the First Worldiest of the First World Problems, when your HD stream of a popular cable TV show is unavailable due to high server demand
but damn it, HBO, we all just want to have our hopes and dreams dashed by watching our favorite (and least favorite) characters die horrible, bloody, violent deaths.
Joking aside, there's a bigger issue at play here: paying customers not being able to access content they pay for.
So why does this keep happening?
Demand for the show is damned near always high, in fact, the hype train rolls year-round as they continue to anticipate higher ratings each year.
And they even fanned the flames by offering a Free Viewing Weekend during the premiere.
It makes sense to assume they knew Episode 1 would experience high demand, but viewers still experienced the same issues during Episode 2 when it was only available for subscribers.
And they know it's a problem!
"HBO Go did experience issues due to overwhelming demand around the premiere of Game of Thrones," the network said in a statement. (Via CNN)
Netflix, who considers themselves an HBO competitor, rarely, if ever, has similar outages with the release of their own highly-anticipated shows (House of Cards, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, etc.)
So what makes Game of Thrones special? The demand.
No other show on HBO's network (except perhaps True Detective) experiences a similar volume of demand.
For that matter, no other show available for streaming has as many unique viewers each week pulling from HBO’s servers.
The large number of misery-goers means a higher number of dedicated servers need to be allocated to meet the demand, which has simply has not happened.
Yes, I realize this is petty and I realize you can literally wait between a half-hour and an hour after the original air-time and be able to stream the show just fine.
Really, that isn’t the end of the world.
But it IS cause for concern when watching streaming content as it airs on TV is LITERALLY the company's pitch to new (paying) subscribers.
Demand will remain high for Game of Thrones. HBO knows this.
We’ve had 6 seasons of gradually increasing viewership and literally every single season was mired by streaming problems.
Fix the damned problem already!