Aussies Can't Stop Pirating 'Game Of Thrones'. Here's Why.

Game Of Thrones is probably the most pirated show in history, and Australians are at the front of the mob, diving head-first into the record books. We download the HBO drama more than anyone else in the world per capita. Why? Why are we such prolific pirates? How did we get here?

It's an interesting problem, and it has several moving parts: one is an outdated media landscape that wants to hold onto a dying business model for as long as possible, and the other centres around an intrinsic Australian cultural entitlement problem when it comes to content from North America.

The Rivers Of Gold

The problem with Australia's media landscape is largely the same one that's affecting the whole world: advertisers are pulling out of TV just like they're pulling out of newspapers, and traditional players are suffering for it. All of a sudden, the environment that was invented purely to push ads — that is, television — has become a new beast where content is king.

With the decline in ad funding, Australian media bosses are now grappling with how they're going to get paid now that everyone consumes content online.

Not wanting to be left behind, free-to-air TV networks have all jumped into the catch-up arena. Seven's PLUS7 app, Nine's JumpIn and Ten's TenPlay are all trying to offer what Netflix or Hulu offers US consumers: all you can eat content with a smidgen of ad support.

These homegrown TV catch up platforms still feel half-baked, however, and getting access the catch-up portal itself on your phone is still a problem when brands like Samsung and LG demand app exclusives on their devices.

The ABC provides a great catch-up platform for its suite of shows in iView, but the resolution of the content becomes a problem when you try to stream a 240p clip to your 1080p or higher television. The ABC is publicly funded, and claims that pushing larger format files would drive up data costs exponentially. So it figures to give people crappy access to content rather than no access at all.

Pay TV giant, Foxtel, has also realised it needs to innovate with how people watch TV, offering a la carte subscription models for TV content via Foxtel Play and movie content via Foxtel Presto.

TV networks are getting there, slowly, but the iTunes and Google Play are still the best ways to legally acquire content for catch-up in Australia. Either ecosystem offers shows (more or less) within 24 hours of it airing in cheap, high definition formats that can be played just about anywhere: TV, tablet, phone or other.

Apple and Google are able to offer these services thanks to the leverage they have as massive brands over entertainment providers like HBO, Showtime and other US cable networks (i.e.: the ones making the content). That leverage and the resulting deals serve to cheese off Australian content providers who don't have the buying power of the world's largest tech companies, so they've started to fight dirty.

Specifically relating to Game Of Thrones, Foxtel needs to shoulder much of the blame for the explosive rise in piracy.

The anatomy of justifying piracy comes down to pricing and availability: make content cheap and available quickly on different devices and you quickly dissolve the reasons everyone illegally downloads content. Everyone from you, me right up to Google Australia know that.

Foxtel, however, seems to be out of the loop.

It made a deal with HBO that cut both the Apple iTunes Store and the Google Play store out of the market. Foxtel, the sole and most expensive cable provider in the country, now has a monopoly on one of the most watched shows on television. And that's a problem.

To get a Foxtel subscription capable of screening GoT on your television requires an outlay of $74 per month, or a spend of $35 per month for Foxtel Play on your tablet and smartphone. That's still quite a large capital outlay for people who are used to paying a few dollars per episode or just $10 per month for an overseas subscription. That gives you a big fat "F" on the pricing test.

Couple that with the fact that Foxtel just isn't available to everyone and you fail the availability test outright.

Foxtel is a problem, but you can't blame the whole problem of GoT piracy on an outdated media landscape, however. It's also a cultural thing.

The Entitlement Problem

Australia is heavily anchored in North American popular culture. We import many of our trends from the US, from our TV shows through to our movies and gadgets. We're now even importing their fast food chains like Carls Jr.

Even our political system has been imported from the US and the UK: Aussies operate under the "Washminster" model of government, which emulates the best things about the Westminster system in the UK and the Washington system from the US.

We share a very American view of the internet in that it should be free and open for everyone. That particular view clashes when it comes to how content providers look at the internet and digital distribution. Media bosses in the US are just as scared as their Australian counterparts over who will pay for content and what their cut will be, which means that a swathe of content is available to North Americans only.

We're also a country with the highest take-up of smartphone devices in the world. We love 'em. In the same way that a rural resident needs to own a car, Australians need to own fast networking gadgets to cut down on the tyranny of distance we face from the rest of the world.

So is it any wonder that with the combination of an incredibly well-connected society that thinks it's the 51st state of the United States, people in Australia feel entitled to content produced specifically for North America?

We pine for the launch of Netflix and Hulu so badly that we're literally tunelling into the US to get access to it. We'll do anything to emulate our US cousins and stay in the loop of what they're talking about.

We've seen over the back fence to what our neighbours get, and we want in. Couple that with media bosses desperate to keep the rivers of gold flowing and you see the problem.

We take our sense of entitlement to the web, where anything can and is downloaded for free, often illegally. And that's how we get to where we are today: a country where content is locked up in old business models for only the wealthy to see.

It's the Elysium effect: they're up there, and we're down here without. Downloading content illegally is what we do to get what we feel is owed to us.

Foxtel thinks it's complying with the rules of piracy in that it's offering GoT to new customers via its apps, but you still can't compete with free. Aussies look at Foxtel as a greedy monopolist out to screw customers, so they pirate what they think is owed to them.

The real problem when it comes to downloading content like Game Of Thrones, is that there's no end in sight.


Comments

    Give me the option to download hd quality episodes (1080p preferably) with 5.1 sound that I can purchase and keep on my NAS at a fair price and I will subscribe to this every season.

      Exactly @blah.

      The other issue these guys have got is that they've dragged their feet so long on this issue that they've caused people to find out that there's another way to get the content. I don't know if that's reversible now.

      There's also the issue that when you do pay to watch a movie from a service like Xbox movies, sometimes the performance of the streaming is so woeful that you wish you pirated it.

      It's not good when the free product is better quality than what you'd pay for and can be played on any device. They need to fix this.

        It's absolutely reversible. Once I was able to easily pay for and acquire GoT I did so, by buying it on iTunes. I *hate* the hassle of piracy. From NZB files which are password protected or trojaned, to the threat of BitTorrent trackers going offline, it fails the WAF test.

        When my wife was able to turn on the TV, and hit play for the latest GoT episode and *know* it will work 100% of the time, she was happy. I was happy. We're just not going to pay Fuxtel $80 a month to be happy though, and so the pain rolls on.

          Well you can't buy it on iTunes anymore, so it's the good ship uTorrent, or Foxtel. Or have it all spoiled for you before you can get the bluray next year sometime, a couple of months after the US get it for half the price.

            yup... why the hell should Foxtel get exclusive rights to GOT... i have always purchased the season pass via iTunes and just downloaded the show once it aired.

            Now they want me to subscribe to a Pay TV model that will feed me a bucket load of rubbish channels to watch 1 episode a week?

            No thanks. I won't be pirating this season of GOT. but i will just stick to Hulu plus for my regular TV viewing and then buy the Blu-ray when its out. I refuse to reward Foxtel with my money.

          Two words mate private tracker. Much easier than itunes lol. Or if you a real luddite (as I suspect you may be) one made up word eztv.

          I literally never had a problem with any torrent ever. You clearly have no idea what you are doing.

          That said, I would be more then happy to pay for a good quality copy of GOT episodes, but I would never pay Rupert Murdoch (Foxtel) for the opportunity. I wouldn't even care if he was offering 4K episodes at .50c a pop. I would literally rather watch a 30fps version in 240p out of principle.

          That said, judging by how many people blindly support Murdoch and his (disgustingly) overpriced services in Australia it is no surprise that this sort of shit happens.

          I feel piracy in Australia is less about getting free or easy content and more about getting screwed by corporate greed because a large portion of the population don't (and are too ignorant) know any better (eg; Coalition and Palmer United supporters)

            Before you go off on an anti Murdoch rant, don't forget Foxtel are half owned by Telstra. They pull the strings more than Murdoch does. Your name suits your ideology.

        Look at the music industry. They finally got their shit together and you don't hear nearly as much about music piracy anymore. Because people would much rather spend .99 on a song than bother pirating it, its just not worth it.

        If they did the same thing for movies and TV, the same thing would end up happening.

        Sure there would still be piracy, but not as much.

        EXACTLY!

        My 200kbps streaming speed isn't really enough for anything beyond heavily-compressed 480p, which when you're trying to watch a movie on the big screen is just woeful. So my choices are to pay a subscription for choppy, stop-start, low-quality movies, or use a torrent, take three or four hours to download a 1080p BD-rip, and watch it whenever I feel like.

        I can't get foxtel (We have no cable in this area, and frankly I'd rather shoot myself in the head then pay hundreds of dollars for a satellite to watch a half-dozen TV shows a week. The only other option is to buy physical media, but when a new release movie can still be upwards of 30 dollars, and something like GoT can be upwards of 70 dollars (Plus a year too late), I don't see myself with many more options to use up my extremely limited free time.

      This 100%
      If i buy it i want to be able to do whatever i want with it.

      Even living in metro areas most of us are running on outdated network infrastructure with no end in sight, in these scenarios the streaming option just doesn't work. I'd rather download higher quality at our imposed slower speeds then play at our convenience.

      Last edited 08/04/14 3:47 pm

    "We share a very American view of the internet in that it should be free and open for everyone. "

    I think most of the world wants this. Like Europe, who just voted to protect these exact freedoms.

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/emmawoollacott/2014/04/03/europe-votes-for-net-neutrality-in-no-uncertain-terms/

    I'm sorry, but I'm willing to pay and do the right thing, but I don't want to be ripped off, I don't want to pay nearly $100 a month for Fuxtel, I am then stuck with 30 or 40 channels I don't want or need, I wouldn't mind the ads so much if that's what it took, but why should I be forced to take an entire package of channels, features and functions for 1 to 2 years on a contract that I don't want or need.

    I am happy to buy a series like Game of Thrones like we have done with the last 3 series(And other series) we purchased a season pass on iTunes and LEGALLY downloaded each new episode as they came out each week, Fuxtel and HBO has now blocked that avenue, or I'm happy to buy the DVD/Blu ray but most of the times they are 12 to 18 months behind the releases in the USA, so most of the time I download them illegally and watch them now, and then when they do get released on DVD/Blu Ray we buy them then (I love all the behind the scenes stuff)

    Make the product available on multiple formats, in a very quick timeframe and at a reasonable price, and you'll make a massive dent in the privacy problem, you'll never completely get rid of it, some people will always refuse to pay even a small amount for things, but you'll certainly help alleviate the current pirating mess.

    And lets not even get started on the delayed mess that is the Lego Movie, I'd love to know the amount of downloads of that since they decided to delay its release into the Australian market, all to make a little bit more money over the school/easter holidays. The Studios and TV channels have no one else but themselves to blame for this current pirating epidemic.

    just my $0.02

    Last edited 08/04/14 12:55 pm

      I wouldn't mind the ads so much if that's what it took
      I'll assume you don't have Foxtel. We do at my household, I don't pay for it (luckily), but my brother got it for the sports and documentary channels. Nothing more frustrating than watching PAID TV play ads as just, if not more than FTA channels. It's so frustrating that I've bought/watched/downloaded documentaries instead of sitting through all the crap they air on Foxtel during the programs.

      Nothing worse than paying almost $99 a month for TV just to sit through insurance and 'what's on this month' ads. Flicking to FTA gets you less ads!

      Last edited 08/04/14 1:11 pm

        Ads are what annoy me the most - Why should I pay for something, just so I get the same amount of ads shoved down my throat as opposed to FTA, where I don't pay, but I get flooded with the same amount of junk they are trying to sell to me?
        If I pay, I want an ad-free service - and I am happy to pay for that.
        I download, I watch, and if it's any good, I buy. If it was rubbish to watch, then there is no reason for them to have my money.

        I dunno, according to the local paper today Blue Bloods last night or whatever, had 25 minutes of ads for a show that's meant to be shown in a 60 minute time slot that's going to run for longer than a hour..

          Which also impacts on being able to actually record the shows (even with the +/- 10 minute setting) on Foxtel IQ.

            Yep. Also supposedly for a one hour time slot program there is only allowed to be a maximum of 18 minutes of advertising. Would be nice to see ACMA or whoever is responsible to enforce such rules.

            Seriously? Foxtel own the entire medium, and they don't have accurate guides their IQ program can pick up on properly? What's the point of IQ if it's no better than a FTA PVR running off the rubbish inaccurate Freeview guide?

        That's my bug bear with Foxtel.

        I'm protective of my limited free time and don't want to sit there watching ads. I'll happily pay a premium for an ad-free experience.

        At the moment, I set Foxtel to record the TV shows I want to watch (even if they're playing when available to sit down and watch TV) and view them later when I can fast forward through the commercials x 3-6 minutes worth of commercials.

        Value for money with Foxtel as it stands? Nope.
        Netflix and Hulu? No problem.

        Waaay back like, 15 years ago, when my family first got Foxtel, it was AMAZING. Good stuff, decent channel packages and NO ADS.

        The ads slowly crept in and people just.. didn't say anything.. seriously.. they are paying for cable, and ALSO get ads? What the hell?

        For awhile foxtel would still claim it was ad free because it was just ads for other things on foxtel (usually on a channel you didn't have). But now, don't even say that.

        And people just let it go.

          Yep, I remember these times. I reckon it was about 10 years ago that I finally ditched craptel. I was on their highest plan ($100/month) and just got fed up with all the ads and re-runs. It was like it was on a monthly loop. It was a fucking joke. One day, I just became fed up. We went out and bought a TiVo, upped our data from 40gig to 200gig and cancelled it. Back then, we weren't huge pirates, and not every device in the house could play your media like it can now. All we had was a TviX media player with a 200gig hdd.

            90% of Foxtel is old shows, they are either reruns of recent stuff or REALLY old shows.. or judge judy.. i see a LOT of like, friends, will and grace, all those old shows and then you have the swath of shitty documentaries with a few actual good ones in there.

            Foxtel is MAYBE worth it for the movie channel, maybe. I often use it only for football and thats about it. Oh, and Daily show, thats about it.. Its absolutely not worth it. But if you want to watcht he rare few things that come up, like Game of Thrones, then you have to shell out a fortune.

            Out of curiosity, i went to the foxtel site to look at the guide to see the shows that i actually watch, that they offer, this is just a short sample. (Don't judge me)

            Archer? nope. Arrow? nope. Teen Wolf? nope. The Musketeers? nope. and so on, just off the top of my head. So.. why would i want it? For the one show it has that i actually want? That they put on the most expensive channel? Pass..

          Feel exactly the same, we had Foxtel when it first came out and it was totally ace. Nowadays when I visit my parent's house and watch it, it's like... is a TV show going to come on at some point between these ads? It's disgraceful.

            If you charge money.. you can't also have ads, thats not only greedy, but its.. i don't know if its false advertising but its absolutely not what pay TV should be.

    Just make piracy legal - problem solved. Amirite?

      No, because then content providers won't make any money and what is the motivation to make high quality content like Game of Thrones, Walking dead, etc.
      Yes HBO make a lot of money from the shows they make, but they also cost a shit load of money to make and produce.

        new model croudfund the shows, if it is popular people will pay.

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LxCoCTc3T5Q

        Years old, still relevant. Release for free and still make money.

        Well said... I wonder when piracy will reach a critical mass will it cause content creation to cease?

          Piracy HAS reached critical mass, I think. Since some of the players have caught up (in the US), piracy rates are dropping steadily. That what the content providers don't understand. Most people would rather not break the law if it means getting a fair deal.

        You and @natedogg118 are deluded if you think content creation will cease with a so-called "critical mass" of piracy. These people have been crying for years how a new format or technology will lead to the downfall of the movie and music industries. Sure, MP3s killed off CD sales, but demand for music is as high as ever. Piracy shows that the demand is there. Business models may die, but content will live on forever.

    I've always wanted to know 'at what cost?' would people stop downloading illegally.

    Everyone always says if there was a perfect service they would pay and stop pirating, in most cases I think people would still get the 'free' copy if they could. However...

    If there was a service out there that could provide you with each GoT season (and other shows), that was 1080p and full 5.1 surround sound. How much would you pay for that service? Assume you're paying a monthly subscription.

      It does exist... Just not in Australia.

      Hulu, Netflix, Amazon Instant all offer the service in one permutation or another.

      And I'll happily pay what they're paying (albeit with an Australia tax of course) so around the $10 a month (perhaps more depending on content).

        Nope. None of those services have (the current season of) GoT.

        I already happily pay for Netflix.
        Netflix has set the bar, decent quality (bitrate and resolution) and range (movies and TV Series across all genres) at less than $10/month proves that it is doable.
        So being generous, let's add on 50% "Australia Tax" (although I don't see why it needs to be that way) and 10% GST and we're looking at ~$15/month..
        Yet somehow Foxtel Play with poor resolution, and poor range is another 66% (for the base package) on top of my already 50% inflated "Netflix equivalent" price!

        Last edited 08/04/14 2:32 pm

        I pay for Netflix and HBO GO. The Netflix I was paying about $10 a month but have since bought a 12 month subscription for $40. The HBO Go account gives me access to all HBO TV shows (True Detectives, GoT, OZ, etc) and a lot of movies. This also cost me $10 a month but also gives me access to lots of other channels from Verizon FIOS TV but I don't use them much. Along with this I pay $2.50 for getflix.
        All up I'd be happy with $30 a month if it was all available here, I'd add another $10 for sport.

      For me.... that number is about $1 an episode, or maybe $5/month.

      If they get 5 million viewers an episode + ads when aired on TV + merchandise... that's a fair bit of money, but if you pay your actors $1,000,000 an episode then you're in trouble.

      MasterBuddha, I use to down load hundreds of gigs of music, now I dont even know where I saved it, I use spotify and other programs like that as not only do I get music at a great price I get awesome tools included. If you provide a good legal way, people will follow in Aus, people are not poor here just dont like getting ripped off.

        I'm the same, Since Steam and Spotify I haven't pirated music or a game for years.
        Netflix fills most of my view requirements with piracy only filling the "current seasons" area.

        Software wise, I only pirate the $1K+ stuff like photoshop or solidworks

          This is so true, i haven't pirated a song since iTunes came along. I haven't pirated a PC game since Steam came along.

          the business model works. The TV industry here in Australia refuses to evolve.

      I used to heavily pirate music. Along comes Google Play Music, and I haven't illegally downloaded a song in 6 months. I'd be willing to pay up to $25 a month for that same level of availability for TV shows and movies. This means no ads, access to it anywhere I can access a browser, and the ability to store the media locally if for some reason I don't have access to downloads. Anything less, and I have no interest.

      I think $1 an episode or $10-$20 a month would be a fair price.

      It's different for everyone. Some people just refuse to pay for anything they can get for free...

      Personally, I think it's more about the overall value not the actual dollar figure.
      I have netflix, and even though it doesn't have sport or news or current seasons of shows, I think it's worth $8 per month. I get HEAPS of value out of that. I'd probably pay $20-$30 per month for netflix. Especially if it got current seasons of shows.

      Foxtel on the other hand is terrible value. They make you pay for channel bundles you don't want, hardware you shouldn't need and still have adds. Normal foxtel isn't on demand either so you still have to record stuff or watch it like on normal TV. For me the delivery method is the problem. Even their streaming service (which is still pretty expensive) isn't "On Demand". It's probably a feeling of entitlement but why can't I watch a show whenever I want? Free to air TV? sure it's free. But when I pay for a service, I expect to be able to use it whenever I want. It's like buying a book or a DVD and only being able to read/watch during certain hours. Or your Kindle only letting you read a specific book on tuesdays.... it's an archaic delivery method and that's one of the biggest advantages of on demand streaming like netflix. Or even catch up streaming like ABC iView.

      I don't use iTunes mainly because I hate the platform, but also paying $3 per episode racks up very quickly. I can watch a whole season in one day for $8/per month on netflix, why would I pay $30+ for a single season from itunes?
      Again, it's not the dollar number it's the value. If that was the only thing I watched all month, than $30 per season is fine. If I watch 4-5 season of various shows per month, the price starts to skyrocket.

      You won't get a single answer for your question. For me, if it had everything I wanted, in HD and my internet was unlimited and fast enough, I'd easily pay around $50 per month. Maybe more if it included live sport (eg international stuff). But that price might not be affordable for others regardless of the value. This alone is why CHOICE is important.
      There are heaps of people out there that simply can't afford Foxtel.

      Last edited 08/04/14 2:05 pm

      I'd be interest to know the economics of FTA TV. After all, how much money can a FTA network make in advertising from a high profile show like this? Divided by the number of viewers, I'd be surprised if it was any more than $1 each (happy to be corrected if someone has some figures).

      They can make money on that sort of model so presumably they could sell it online for a similar price. For me personally, it would have to be under $2 for a hour long show and as others have said here, it must be without DRM! Discounted prices for season passes should also be available.

      I know GoT is not a FTA show but there are other extremely popular and well pirated shows that are and networks make enough money out of these just by being paid by advertisers.

        If the FTA networks had it, it would at least be a week late, huge chunks hacked out of it to fit advertising, and broadcast in SD anyway. They don't get it more than most

          Not to mention they would advertise it for 6 months as "Coming Soon" They would also show the series out of Sequence and then stop the Series for 3 - 4 months because we are outside of a Ratings period (Yes, I am looking at you channel 9!)

      I think there's a baseline where there will always be piracy. The thing about crime is it can never be stopped outright, you'll always have some.

      But what you CAN do is take an enormous chunk out of it. Valve people have been more than happy to talk about the effects had on the piracy market in Russia just by supporting the region better with localization. Not to mention Steam sales etc.

      Games are a great example, in fact, because in many cases games are an inferior product when pirated. Can't be easily patched, sometimes rip files for portability, can't usually be played online/multiplayer, can suffer from low number of seeders. Whereas you take Steam, which provides rapid access, the option for automatic updates, and a social/multiplayer platform. You get it faster, more reliably, and better quality, and Steam sales make the price difference between legal and illegal quite literally a few dollars.

      Compare to movies/TV. Pirated movies/tv shows are usually the same quality resolution, but a higher quality 'product' because the media files can be manipulated and migrated to any device you choose, and don't 'feature' ads. They're often available either before commercial DVD release or within hours/minutes of TV airing. And they're available to a greater segment of the population than those who have to subscribed to the closed networks. And free. They win on price, availability, quality, and are at least equal on reliability.

      The simple fact is that if you expect people to pay for your product, you have to offer a better deal than your competitor. And when the competitor is offering YOUR PRODUCT for free, you have to compete by offering it in a better way. Steam does this. TV/movies don't. Netflix is the closest thing to Steam-for-TV/movies there is, which is why there are literally hundreds of thousands of accounts on their database with Australian credit card numbers.
      The answer is obvious and right in their face.

      @masterbuddha I highly doubt the "in most cases" part. I'm perfectly happy to pay the cost of the season on bluray (I do anyway) if im able to get digital 1080p 5.1 downloadable as its aired. I'd even pay $10-$20 more if I had to.

      As it stands I'll keep pirating, buying merch from the HBO store and purchasing the bluray when its released (which is just before the next season comes out, almost a whole year after the show airs). I will never use iTunes. Or pay over $105 for 3 months Foxtel access and never be able to watch the show again (after the 3 months).

      Last edited 08/04/14 6:07 pm

      I downloaded my first thing last night. Previously I have used itunes or bought the DVD. No adsl, poor phone reception and satellite drops out all of the time here so it cost around 10 dollars an episode to steal it! The big cost for me is time, petrol and data, not the cost of the show. I would much prefer to buy from itunes, where I can download direct to my ipad while I'm in town, or buy the DVD rather than mucking about with torrents.

      let me put it this way: Ever since I got steam a decade ago, I stopped pirating games (back then it was burned DVDs and ripped CDkeys)

      Ever since I was able to pay a small subscription from spotify (instead of more than CDs from iTunes) I've stopped stealing music

      Now that I have a (technically illegal) Netflix account, I've MOSTLY stopped stealing TV shows and movies.

      Now, I'm just one person, but I'm willing to bet I'm not a statistical anomaly.

      i have a price for you... $70 a month... that's what i currently pay for my unlimited internet...if something better came along, offering me what i already have for less money, I'd jump on it

        So by your logic, because I pay for roads, I should be allowed to steal cars?

          'roads' is not a product you personally chose to purchase, nor a product being offered to you by 5 separate suppliers vying for your business

          context, get some

    In short the deal between Foxtel and HBO to monopolise GoT has increased the number of people pirating GoT.

    Surely it makes more sense to distribute your show to as many legal avenues as possible, where the end customer pays (via ads or $$), rather than cutting out multiple paid legal avenues.

    Crazy,

      It is about bundling. Foxtel want to use GOT to drive overall subscriptions. Rather than the license holder for the content meeting the strong demand, they are using the demand as leverage to force other stuff on us as well.

      HBO is a business and not a charity. I'm sure Foxtel paid them well enough that it made up what they were making before if not exceeding that.

    most people can't afford to pay for the hugely expensive foxtel packages in order to watch it, or they're in a situation in which they just cannot get foxtel.

    Personally I don't watch TV - I just keep up to date on a few select TV shows (atm community, elementary, GoT).
    Now Foxtel costs at least $50/month.
    Where is the sense in paying that much when I'll only use the service for maybe 3 hours each week?
    I'm also not around home most nights, so it more than likely wouldn't even be live watching - I'd have to record it so I can watch it when I can.

    If only there was some way in which I could get all of the shows that I want so that I can watch them when I am free....

    Seriously, fuck off.

    Firstly, you can't compete with free? Yes you can, Netflix and Hulu have been doing it for a while in the states and are making inroads here by trading convenience for a small cost.

    And entitlement? We are legally guaranteed a right to import items we want, that is a guaranteed right so that we aren't unfairly priced purely within our region. Old media models circumvented that due to how hard it was to import new media as a private citizen.

    Now we can import media easily and digitally and those same old media are trying to throw up road blocks so they can continue to grab their pound of flesh for doing what? We don't need them anymore as a distribution platform but they're throwing around wads of cash in an attempt to stay relevant.

    When I started pirating in high school it was because there was no access here. If a show was huge, zetigeist inducing then we might get it 6 months later and many more good shows just never made it hear.

    Now because of pirates, most shows will air within a week sometimes hours. You're welcome.

    But do you know what else is different? iTunes and Google play stores exist, you can legally pay for the shows here and watch them on your own terms. With tunnelling more tech savvy people than ever are paying for access to content.

    It's a serious, positive change fueled by people who weren't happy with the old status quo.

    Foxtel literally, directly attacks that. It attacks how people want to consume the content in order to protect an outdated, overpriced model of distribution and you bring up that the issue is entitlement?

    I've called you out before for having a strange pro-Foxtel leaning and you keep reinforcing that. No end in sight? The pattern was changing, more and more people were paying for GoT and Foxtel makes a move that pushes it in the other direction. The end will come with the death of regionalised licensing.

    Oh and you should check out this article on your sister site: http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2014/04/australia-is-not-the-worlds-game-of-thrones-piracy-capital-this-is-why/

    If you want to keep claiming we're number one, maybe try find some significantly sized statistics to support it.

      Please feel free to explain why 2100 is not 'significantly sized statistics'. Or 18,000 which would actually be more apt, but whatever.

      Use big boy words like confidence interval, confidence level, population and 'I clearly have no idea what I am talk about but will yell on the internet about it anyway'.

      Last edited 08/04/14 4:52 pm

        That was a last minute addition to my post and the one comment I can't back up in the level you obviously can. I haven't done any serious statistics study for years and obviously not to the level you have.

        In fact, I'd be happy if you'd like to actually explain why I'm incorrect on that point. I don't know everything and I'm always happy to learn more.

        As for my reasoning, it was simply echoing what I had read in the article which rang true to what little I recalled of statistics. It seemed to be pulling from a rather small sample size and extrapolating from only a couple of percent.

    If you want GoT on Foxtel Play, you're looking at $50/month. It's $35/m at the moment for the first 3 months on a sale.

      I've just been taking a quick look at Foxtel Play to see whether that was a worthwhile option. $25/month for the first subscription package (entertainment, drama, docos or kids, none of which I want), plus another $10/month for the required premium package (after a $15 discount for the first 3 months). No, you can't have the premium package on its own. No, you can't save the content to watch it again later, although shows remain available for a minimum 7 days after they air.

      So basically we're looking at $70 to get us through the 2 months to watch the full season, or $7/episode. That's not terrible, but it's still a bit steep. I don't know, I'll have to think about it.

      TL:DR
      $70 will get you GoT S4 through Foxtel Play, but you won't own any content to watch beyond the 7 day catch-up period.

        Except that game of thrones seasons are 10 eps long not 8, so 3 months not 2. So its $105, making it $10.50 an ep. That you can't ever watch again 7 days after airing.

          True, I incorrectly applied the 2 week free trial period. EZTV, here I come!

    While I broadly agree with everything here, we should recall that the newest Game of Thrones eps are not available on the very cheap Hulu or Netflix services in the US. Instead you are required to have an active cable subscription with HBO added, and either watch it via that cable or use your account to access HBOGo. So you're likely looking at $40/mth to watch it, maybe a little more if you want HBOGo.

    Granted, it's better than $80/mth, but the Foxtel Play option is similarly priced. You can't compare the $80/mth to a $10/mth 'overseas subscription' - it's a poor comparator.

      To get GoT in the states you need a cable sub (Dish's basic package is $30p/m for 120 channels) then you need to add HBO to that, $20p/m so all up $50 p/m. That's not bad, Foxtel comparison is Essentials for $49p/m which gets you 43 channels and then you need the Movies pack for HBO which is $25 extra so $74p/m.

      So, a fair way off but some things to note, the Dish prices are ex tax and the population difference between AU and US does play into the equation.

      It will get better with time, hopefully :)

    It all started back in 2001 for me. I blame channel 9. It was the season finale of CSI. The US aired the 2 hour finale back to back as it was supposed to be. Channel 9 decided to only show 1 hour and the following hour next season. This led me off free to air tv. The rest is history.

    +10.

    I'm willing to do this as well if they give us some good options.

    I'm just going to leave this here....

    http://www.gizmodo.com.au/2014/03/google-australian-piracy-is-an-availability-and-pricing-problem/

    You don't need to subscribe to the movie channel package. You can add just Showcase channel for $10/mo. If you already have Foxtel, that represents pretty good value for money. If the only thing you watch on that channel is GoT, that's about $2.50 per episode - seems reasonable.

    At the currently advertised rate ($49 essentials, $10 Showcase), that's $59/mo, not $74/mo. And you can always get a month or two free, and without contract.

    This product, being produced by HBO, has been made available on certain platforms at a certain price.

    The problem is that many individuals have a bee in their bonnet about paying for Foxtel (too many channels I don't care about, too many ads, I hate Murdoch, whatever), and they were never going to get Foxtel just for one show anyway.

      I can't get foxtel. Not in either of the last 2 building I lived in and they are not in woop woop. I am in Newtown atm.

        You can get Foxtel over cable, fibre, satellite or semi-fast broadband. If you don't have any of those options available to you, then I guess you must be stuck on crappy DSL, mobile internet or dial-up. Not sure what can be done there.

          Foxtel Play is new & not to mention lacking. Most people can't get cable or fibre & satellite can be very spotty for a lot of people, I live in the Northern suburbs of Adelaide & when I lived a 20min WALK from where I live now, I could only pick up SBS & ABC, now I can get all the free to air channels. Just not worth dealing with Foxtel.

          Last edited 08/04/14 3:26 pm

      For Foxtel Play, you need a minimum of $50 per month ($35 for the first 3) to get GOT. This also assumes you have a good enough internet connection and a compatible device to watch it on.
      Discount is for new customers only.

      For normal Foxtel, you have to pay extra for HD channels, Need to buy essentials, with premium drama pack. Website says $74 per month so your $59 must be for exisitng customers doing an upgrade? Also I can't find any info about zero contract, which means you're locked in to 6months and a minimum cost of $520... That's a bloody expensive GOT season. Oh and it's not on demand, and you need to pay extra to watch it in a different room. Oh and a $150 installation and equipment fee...

      So yeah sure, if you already have foxtel, then you're already part of the system and already subscribe to that delivery method.
      For someone who doesn't have foxtel an wants to watch GOT.... it's complete bullshit.

      I still don't understand why pay TV has adds either.... what exactly am I paying for?

        $49 + $10 for Showcase. You don't need the movies or premium drama pack.

          Where do you see that? I can't find it anywhere on the Website? I would ditch the movie pack if I didn't need to have it.

          I'm going to take a stab in the dark and guess that you're talking about this?

          https://community.foxtel.com.au/t5/Announcements/Special-pricing-for-Game-of-Thrones-fans/m-p/8931#U8931

          Except that $10 'deal' for only showtime is only for 3 months, and the minimum lock in to be eligible for it is a 12 month contract.
          It might offer it to you as an existing subscriber, but as a (pretend) new sign up who has just read far too much bloody small print they aren't letting you out that easy.

          EDIT: Added correct link

          Last edited 08/04/14 4:51 pm

    I think another major part of the problem, one not addressed in the article, is that not everyone wants to stream their media, or have it locked into any one player/ecosystem. Buying a movie on iTunes is no the same as buying it on dvd; you cant move it around as easily, or play it as instantly without extra download time.
    Australia doesn't have the best Internet packages, both in terms of speed and data allowances, as it is, so when i want to get a movie, i want the file downloaded onto my hard drive once, and then be free to move it around as i please.
    Let me pay for a decent quality file, that I download once, and you will have me (for a reasonable price of course).

    I honestly don’t blame Foxtel for negotiating exclusive rights to GoT. It makes a lot of business sense to them. I would far prefer HBO to tackle the pirating problem and make their content more available. That’s assuming they are THAT concerned about the current status of piracy. Their ratings are still enormous and they make huge amounts of money out of DVD sales. As long as that keeps happening I doubt a lot will change - for good or worse.

    What do they expect? In an age where anyoneend, who wants to can converse with someone else anywhere in the world AND we know that they can get a show here within a couple of hours, of course people are going to want it now. Doubly worse when they start screwing around with programming and the shows being aired months behind time. I've never got into GOT but did go down that route with top gear when channel 9 screwed that up.

    The other question of course is who is the real Crim? Is it really those downloading it at this end, who don't have access to the original (and that's the whole point of all this) or is it the person at the other end who is doing the copying and putting it up on the internet for others to access?

    I'm happy enough to pay for it, just not willing to pay Foxtel for it.

    I don't know if I will see it before I purchase the Blurays but either way I will purchase the Blurays. Provided it's a reasonable price (~$50)

    Music piracy is a good example, pirating music was a preferred option until iTunes made it easy to buy DRM free music, couple of clicks and your done. Not hard to move the music around, you know it's high quality and it works.

    Now lets move to TV, at present you can have 1 interface and TV is automatically downloaded and available to watch straight from the US in 720p 5.1 (I find 720p is sufficient at present on 60" TV + not bad on the bandwidth). Easy for anyone to use and works well (however illegal).

    Let's compare this quickly to Foxtel GO. They have an iPad App, great lets just AirPla.... What?! Airplay is not available due to content right restrictions? This kind of sillyness is not going to make you any friends.

    So now worry less about locking the content down and worry more about making the content easily accessible. Imagine what creativity could happen if you created API's for 3rd party developers to access content e.g. XBMC plugin.

    All the clever people have already walked all over your content restrictions, ripped the show and distributed it via illegal channels. Easy part is downloading it.

    I am happy to pay for content that is fresh, good quality, easy to access and not via a service living in the dark ages.

    "It’s the Elysium effect: they’re up there, and we’re down here without. Downloading content illegally is what we do to get what we feel is owed to us."

    You have issues buddy.

    Open the doors and allow us to access services like Hulu and Netflix and watch the piracy levels plummet!

    How many times is this story going to be written and rewritten on Gizmodo?

      Every time Game of Thrones starts or ends a season, plus probably a quickie when Mad Men comes back and maybe a longer piece for the new series of 24. I assume The Walking Dead also had enough nerds watching to warrant a piracy story last week, but I might have missed it.

      The real question is whether they will outnumber reposted xkcd comics, mental floss videos and petapixel links.

      Last edited 08/04/14 4:48 pm

      Exactly. The article can be summed up far more succinctly.

      1. Spoilers ruin shows like this.
      2. You need access to them pretty soon after they first run (within a day or so really).
      3. The only way to access them in Oz is via a very expensive, and low quality service that requires you to pay for a whole bunch of extra crap you don't want.
      4. If they made good quality content affordable and easy (like on iTunes last year) piracy rates would fall dramatically.

      That is it really.

    Simple Solution: All they need to do is charge $5 per episode to download 1080p 5.1 audio in MKV that you can keep. I heard there was 1 million downloads last night in Australia, so $5,000,000 per episode which is $50,000,000 from Australia alone. Isn't this enough money??? Why so greedy??

    This is approximately same cost as $50 season DVD isn't it?

    I'd pay $5 per episode if it's on MY terms.

    I purchased the Foxtel Play, on demand package for GoT. Watched it last night and the service was fairly good. However ...
    - $35 / month is extremely expensive. This is a special for the first 3 months only. After that the price will increase to $50 / month and I will be cancelling my (no commitment) plan.
    - The Foxtel Go app does not work on rooted or jail broken phones. This boggles my mind. The kind of people who have rooted devices are the same kinds of people who are the target market for piracy. They are on the edge of pop and tech culture. I posted a message on Facebook asking why the requirement for a non-rooted phone was in place. They advised me it was because they want to protect their content. No one is going to pirate the show off of Foxtel's app. It's shown two hours after the US .... It's already online and available illegally.

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