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A television director who has helmed Game of Thrones' episodes recently claimed that although Game of Thrones was the most pirated show of 2012, it survives thanks to "cultural buzz."

Panel mediator Rosemary Neill noted Game of Throneswas the most pirated show of 2012 and that 10 per cent of the downloads came from Australia. But Petrarca shrugged and said the illegal downloads did not matter because such shows thrived on "cultural buzz" and capitalised on the social commentary they generated.

That's how they survive

David Petrarca, Game of Thrones' director, made the statement while speaking at the Perth's Writers Festival last weekend. He was speaking at a panel focused on the rise of premium cable TV channels as a dominant form of storytelling, and was keen to emphasize the fact that shows like Game of Thrones capitalize on the social commentary they generate.

Petrarca also made the observation that HBO has 26 million subscribers in the US and 60 million worldwide, so really, the cable channel's not doing too badly at all, despite all statistics.

More interestingly, Petrarca observed that there was a "false line" between Hollywood and television these days, as "everyone wants to do premium cable now," noting Martin Scorsese's involvement in Boardwalk Empire as a prime example.

To illustrate his point, Petrarca held up his iPad to the audience and said he could use it to read or watch a television show in bed.

He said the success of shows like Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy and Mad Men - other than their great writing and production - came down to the fact that viewers could watch each episode in their own time.

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