What’s the worst possible time for HBO’s streaming services to go down? That would have to be during the first airing of a new episode of the premium channel’s Game of Thrones, and is precisely what happened last night. Fans, perhaps having subscribed to the service because HBO is now getting serious about stopping piracy, couldn’t access the streaming service which is designed to stop them from pirating HBO shows.
The company publicly confirmed the problem about 45 minutes into the episode on Twitter, directing users to the @HBONowHelp account account that couldn’t do much more than say, “yep, it’s down.”
While streaming services don’t air the episodes in the same way that a live channel does, it makes them available on-demand precisely at the time that the episode would begin for cable viewers, allowing viewers to live-tweet and send frantic messages to their friends as the story unfolds.
Traditional cable subscribers didn’t have any problems. The streaming services, however, do tend to leave subscribers yelling “What?! No!” at their televisions at the times when there’s the most demand for first-run shows.
Fortunately, service was restored in time for viewers within an hour or so, letting people watch the show, but defeating the point of paying for a service (or swiping a subscriber friend’s password) to watch episodes as soon as they air.