The HBO GO crashes: We brought this on ourselves

Planit Agency
April 24, 2014

You don’t have to be a “True Detective” fan to have heard about the infamous HBO GO crash on March 9. The highly anticipated finale was set to live stream at 9 PM EST, but not everyone was able to access the episode. After 50 minutes of error screens and angry tweets, HBO finally released a statement via Twitter: “Due to overwhelmingly popular demand for #TrueDetective, we’ve been made aware of an issue affecting some users. Please try again soon.” We all know that there was another factor at play besides high demand: account sharing. You don’t need to pay the $15—$20 per month for access to HBO GO—you just need to know someone who does. And therein lies the problem. There are currently no rules preventing account sharing. In fact, it seems it is encouraged. When asked about account sharing in January, HBO CEO Richard Plepler said, “It’s not a fundamental problem, and the externality of it is that it presents the brand to more and more people and gives them an opportunity hopefully to become addicted to it. What we’re in the business of doing is building addicts, of building video addicts.” Thirty-eight percent of HBO account subscribers were logged on to the site for the “True Detective” finale, but this doesn’t account for multiple people using one account. The extra viewers overloaded the server and crashed the site for paying customers and non-paying customers alike. “Game of Thrones” fans experienced a similar occurrence in May 2013 and yet again on April 6 of this year. Fans will continue to express their frustration via social outlets like Facebook and Twitter. As the crashes keep coming, it seems unlikely that concern over the problem of account sharing will fade from the public discussion. Your move, HBO.