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Free, Legal "Game of Thrones" Without Subscribing to HBO? World Peace Almost Seems Attainable Now

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | July 25, 2012 |

By Dustin Rowles | Industry | July 25, 2012 |

OK. This is incredibly premature, so don’t even begin to get your hopes up. But I know that when we discussed the illegal downloading of “Game of Thrones” a few months ago, a lot of folks lost their sh*t arguing that they’d be glad to pay for it, just not $120 a month, which is about what cable plus HBO will run you. The problem, as most people saw it, is that “Game of Thrones” (and other HBO programming) isn’t made available to non-HBO subscribers for a practical price. That’s why they feel — rightly or wrongly — compelled to pirate their programming.

Meanwhile, Techcrunch has read into a Netflix earnings report and, perhaps, extrapolated meaning that isn’t there. It’s still worth mentioning in the off possibility that there is something there.

Buried within the pages of the report was this quote:

“As for HBO, they continue to do great work with HBO GO, which is now available to most US households that subscribe to the premium service,” the report read. “While we compete for content and viewing time with HBO, it is also possible we will find opportunities to work together - just as we do with other networks.”

Techcrunch believes is is theoretically possible that the statement hints at a potential partnership between Netflix and HBO to Go, which would basically be the greatest thing that ever happened to streaming content. Personally, I find that the selection on HBO to Go is nearly as good as Netflix these days, and if you haven’t caught up on HBO programming, perhaps it’s even better. But a combined venture that would allow someone to pay, oh I don’t know, $30 a month to subscribe to both? That would probably be enough to compel a lot of people to cut the cord. It would also drastically reduced illegal pirating of HBO shows. That’d mean more money for Netflix. More money for HBO. Less money for cable companies. In other words, it’s a win, win, win!

Of course, HBO — which has had a poisonous relationship with Netflix in the past — is denying any such partnership is on the horizon, but Techcrunch reads even into the denial the possibility that the two are at least having discussions.

It’s convoluted, a huge stretch, and not that likely, but if it were to happen — or if HBO were to purchase Netflix — that would be the game changer that would dramatically alter the streaming content landscape.

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Dustin is the founder and co-owner of Pajiba. You may email him here, follow him on Twitter, or listen to his weekly TV podcast, Podjiba.