I call BS. I devote a large part of my free to movies, tv, and internet media. Even so, I was able to go through the entire first year of Game of Thrones without watching it or getting spoilers. Most people will go out of their way to avoid giving away spoilers with a degree of fanaticism rarely seen anywhere else.
No, people torrent Game of Thrones because they can. Maybe this particular example is a little easier to justify because of the absurd notion of actually buying cable + HBO, but everything else is available to torrent as well. Even over-the-air shows, which are essentially free, are torrented because it only takes 1 person in a billion who is willing to capture it and edit out the advertising for the rest of us.
The only business model that can survive into the future is one that clearly connects money raised with future content (think kickstarter, but with mainstream professionals instead of super-niche pipe dreams). If Game of Thrones announced tomorrow they were not making another season until it was paid for, my $20 would be in their paypal account within the hour. They could charge as the market will bear, but only the stuff that people actually want could get made.