According to The Hollywood Reporter, HBO has sent a cease and desist letter to the owners of the Videology bar in Brooklyn, warning them to stop their weekly Game of Thrones viewing parties.
In a statement to the Daily News a spokesperson for HBO makes a point of reminding us that HBO is a subscription service and should not be available in public establishments as an attempt to profit from HBO’s properties. A point that, for me, is well taken. The spokesperson went on to remind us that this is a position that HBO has had and a right they have had to exercise for well over a decade.
Videology, a bar and video rental store, said the note was polite but official. They went on to say that they believed that HBO supported the public showings (a possibly not unreasonable assumption after HBO head Richard Plepler went public with his acceptance and approval of people openly sharing their HBO Go passwords at the beginning of 2014) based on the many other bars in the city that have their own weekly showings of the wildly popular Game Of Thrones. Videology also said they believed that these showings were in the best interest of the show by helping to foster it as a communal event.
Sadly, I get both sides of this. Assuming Videology is being honest I think that this is a great way to foster community, get immediate instead of delayed viewing, and foster old style “water cooler” conversation about the series. But HBO’s point about other people using their property to profit without in someway giving something back is more than valid, although, you could argue that this is an opportunity for new eyes, and Plepler’s point about wanting to create addicts surely means wanting to create new addicts as much as locking in existing ones. Curious to see if this represents a swing away from Plepler’s new media view of HBO’s properties.