Looking for Game of Thrones season 8 episode 2 leaks? No need, AT&T owns HBO now
As if a harbinger of things to come after HBO came with AT&T's purchase of Time Warner, the first episode of the last Game of Thrones season was leaked by the carrier's own DirecTV service.
That's right, those who spent almost two years expecting the pilot at 9 pm on Sunday got treated to the full episode hours before everyone else - provided that they had subscribed to DirecTV, of course.
Call it a mishap, or a marketing ploy on behalf of AT&T to lure more customers into its loving embrace now that it spent $85 billion to acquire HBO's parent company but the notification that went out last night is rather telling.
The season 8 premiere of "Game of Thrones" was supposed to air on HBO on Sunday, April 14, 2019, at 9 p.m. Eastern/8 p.m. Central time. At about 6 pm, however, Twitter was full of spoilers as folks with DirecTV subscriptions got push notifications that the episode was ready to be viewed as early as 5:20 pm, and... started watching.
Needless to say, an AT&T spokesperson chalked it off as a mistake:
It is an open secret that AT&T has different plans for HBO than the renowned content creator had for itself, and the chief executive of HBO recently left in a sign he didn't agree with the new direction. John Stankey, the CEO of AT&T's WarnerMedia wants HBO to be more like Netflix. Translation: making way more original programming and throwing it at the user wall to see what sticks. That's against the HBO grain as Richard Plepler, its former CEO, created it - he took more time choosing and creating shows.
The immense success of HBO shows like Game of Thrones only underwrites Mr Plepler's strategy, but now that AT&T is at the helm, we may be treated to more shows concocted in more haste and, perhaps, more "mishaps" that give AT&T customers an advantage.
Soon, they will be able to stream hit HBO shows directly to their mobile devices as part of a new video service, too. The new streamer will be called "HBO and more," according to John Stankey, and AT&T is gearing up to cut the ribbon towards the tail end of 2019. AT&T "leaking" Game of Thrones to its customers may just be a prelude to where things are heading now that it owns HBO.