George R R Martin Blames Aussie TV Networks For Game Of Thrones Piracy

Speaking at a the US premiere of Game Of Thrones, author George R R Martin has revealed he's no great fan of piracy, but that he understands why so many Australians pirate Game Of Thrones. He's also not a big video game player, but that's for slightly different reasons.

The Verge reports on comments that Martin made at the screening in relation to piracy, noting that being the most pirated show in the world

In a strange way that's a compliment. It's the sort of compliment that you could do without, probably, but it is a compliment nonetheless. I know that a lot of that piracy is taking place in Australia, where for whatever reason they delay the show six months. So people are just anxious to see it. I think we're seeing — we're still right in the midst of a whole new template evolving for television and film entertainment.

On the question of whether shows should simply be released more rapidly:

I think it would cut down on some of the piracy that's a problem. You know, if Australia was getting the show the same day that America was getting the show, then maybe the Australians wouldn't be downloading hundreds of thousands of copies. But I don't know. Why do Australian broadcasters choose to delay it? They have reasons; you'd have to go to Australia and ask them. But I guess that's a model of how they want to present it to their audience and what time they want to present.

He's also not a big video game player, but that's not because he's not precisely a fan.

I played a few video games back in the 80s and that it wasn't that I didn't like them. It was that I liked them too much. And I think I probably lost a novel or two there, cause I would get hooked on someting and I would be playing it over and over again, and I would be staying up all night.

[The Verge]

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    Clearly the real headline here has been missed. Here, this seems to be in standard Gizmodo style: "Playing video games will ruin your writing career, says G.R.R. Martin".

      *shakes fist in anger*

        So Alex, why do the Aussie broadcasters delay by such a long period of time? Could we get an article on this perhaps?

          How big an article can you write that says "Because they are bastards."?

            I'm pretty sure they don't just do it for kicks. I mean, if you could show it at the same time as the US, knowing that a shitload more people would be watching, therefore getting a lot more advertising money, I'm pretty sure you would. There must be some (even thin) reason.

    It will play 2 hours after it screened in the US and then again later in the evening on the same day.

      if you have foxtel, if not, then youre shit outta luck until a DVD release a year later.

      Last edited 22/03/13 9:54 am

        AND if you have the Showcase channel which, I believe, is not part of the standard package.

        The simple fact is, it could air a few hours after the US and on FTA TV and it'd still get massively downloaded here for the simple fact that we want to watch ad-free TV when and where and on what we want - unless it's on the ABC it's gonna be chock-full of ads and pop-up bullcrap. I'm prepared to pay for such a thing, but until it exists I'm a rabid TV downloader.

        I have a 1080p HD capable laptop with a BitTorrent client connected to my TV via HDMI and use a FlyMouse to do everything from my couch, why would I need to pay for Foxtel or wait for FTA TV? I watch local TV programming on FTA TV and I watch occasional random other shows if they happen to look interesting, everything else is downloaded.

        For a show like Game of Thrones I then buy the Blu Ray so I have absolutely no guilt in the matter on that score, for shows where I don't purchase Blu Rays or DVDs? Eh, give me a model I can pay for and I'll gladly give you my money, until then...

          I can live with the ads, I understand teh transaction here, and nothing wrong with a bit of background noise while you pee or check facebook. But popups definitely, don't put things on top of the show I'm trying to watch.

          And yeah, don't sell me $60 a month worth of crap I don't want just so I can see a couple of shows I am interested in

          You say "give me a model I can pay for" but then complain about having to order the Showcase package. Am I mistaken, or is that, in fact, a model you can pay for?

            Yeah I should have been more descriptive - I mean a model I can pay for where I can get all or most of the TV shows i want to watch when I want to watch them and with minimal or no advertising. Streaming services like Hulu and Netflix are the obvious answer but with data limits and geographic restrictions as they are they're just not viable right now.

            If I could pay for what I do now in an easily usable, relatively cheap and accesible package then I would. Ditto with movies (though I see dozens of movies at the cinema each year anyway and that's a secondary conversation).

            The problem with Foxtel is that most of the channels have absolute crud on them and they have (what seems like when i visit my folks' and check it out) more ads than FTA TV. If I could pick by show or possibly channel and JUST pay for those? I'd likely do it, especially if they're on demand and I can watch them when I want to and not when TV schedules say I should.

              That whole "Foxtel has more ads than FTA" is complete and absolute rubbish!

              No ads during movies.
              No ads during premium shows such as Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, etc. etc.
              No ads during game play of sport (AFL, NRL, A-League, NBA...) and in the cricket they generally have an ad every 5-6 overs rather than EVERY over that they have on Channel 9!

              Even when they do have ads, depending on what channels you watch (such as BBC Knowledge for latest Top Gear) they often only have 3 or 4 ad-breaks in a 1 hour show rather than the 5 to 6 FTA fit in.

              Yes there are channels that have just as much advertising as FTA (if you watch channels like Arena - which unfortunately my g/f watches too much of), but generally you get a lot, lot less!

                i'm PAYING for the tv, not the ads. screw foxtel

              TPG unlimited, Unblock US and Netflix works for me. VUDU as well for rentals.

          its more to do with convenience "video on demand" than timing
          what if im tired, or cbb setting foxtel IQ to record, or want to watch it at a convenient time with friends

          this is the 21st century folks, i refused to get shafted by expired business models. Cable TV is so 2000's

          VOD from internet based sources should be the go. By all means, include your ads, include your "schedules" but make it convenient for me to access

          the way i got hooked into Modern family was because i kept seeing Channel 10 ads which made me want to know more and see if i would like it, but i had a busy schedule so i couldnt watch it at the time it was featured

          then they were streaming the episodes on their website, with each episode cut up with ad breaks
          it allowed me to watch it at a time more convenient to me

          because of this i was able to watch the first few episodes enough to get hooked
          and they got my 10 minutes of my life to screen me ads

          if the arguement is that if they switch to this model then they would lose revenue from alot of non tech savvy people who dont know how to conveniently access VOD on the net, then they need to realise that the same people they are trying to stop pirating, are probably competent enough to use it in the first place

          for all the parents and grandparents who only know how to use foxtel with a remote, you can continue to provide that service. This way you preserve your existing revenue stream and capture loss revenue from online piracy

          eventually everyone will cotton onto the convenience and cheapness of online streaming (as the dinosaurs die off)

          but who am i to tell broadcasters what to do right? Its only my money they are trying to convince me to part with. Its not like my opinion matters

          Last edited 22/03/13 4:40 pm

    But... It has never been that delayed in Australia. Not sure about the 1st season but 2 and 3 have very minimal delays. The problem for a lot of people is that the show is on Foxtel.

    I'd love to be able to pay HBO directly to see the show a couple of hours after the US, but I don't want to spend $60 a month on Foxtel just so I can watch it.

    Does anybody know when it will be on iTunes this year? If it's the same day as the US I might do that.

      First season was a couple months, I believe. I think it started airing when US was at ep 7 or 8.

      They can't sell it (on disc or digitally) in Australia until the network has finished showing the season in its entirety.

        I thought they could make each episode available after it aired locally via a Season Pass type thing?

          Maybe for VoD/Digital rental, but I don't think they can see it outright,

      Season 3 is available April 2nd on AUS iTunes in 1080p. Just 9 hours after US screening. $33 for the season. No more excuses.

        Oh no, people will think of some. Nine hours!?!? STOP INFRINGING MY RIGHTS! Etc etc.

        Excellent point, I was unaware of this until you posted. That's a pretty damn good price.

        Perhaps, but I have not had iTunes installed on my PC for the last 7 years, and I refuse to put that bloatware POS on. I bought both blurays of Seasons 1&2 and will for Season 3. Till then I will watch how I always watch things.

    And the big companies have forced us Australians to be good at piracy also.

    Sell us software for reasonable prices rather than the overly inflated price (just because they can) and we'd be less likely to obtain it from other sources! I am looking at you Apple, Microsoft, Adobe ...

    In the age of the intertubes (sic) and high Aussie Dollar, there are no excuses!

    Oh yeah and as Mr Martin says there is little reason for such a delay in broadcasting content in Aus. Look at ABC, BBC and Doctor Who as an example. Next day delivery (albeit in lower quality on iView)

    I downloaded the series at it airs, I also have both seasons on blu-ray... So yeah, my piracy hurts them to the tune of $59 to them when the blu-ray comes out...

      I have one of the largest DVD/Blu Ray collections of anyone I know.

      It's actually $72 per month with the new structure, or $18 per episode if you assume 4 episodes per month and that's all you watched. I have Foxtel, but I don't pay the extra $25 to get access to showcase and the movies, as GOT is the only show I would watch. I'd rather download it and pay for the Bluray, rather than give Foxtel more money to watch it in crappy quality and with their stupid ads.

        Bad maths. If you're already paying for foxtel, and the package that allows you to watch GoT is $25 per month, you're up for $6.25 and episode, not $18.

        FWIW, I download the shit out of all TV shows and will never pay for foxtel.

        Last edited 22/03/13 1:03 pm

          I said if you only watch Foxtel for GOT, it would be $18. Of course it's cheaper if you watch it for other stuff too.

        Game of Thrones is shown 2 hours after being aired in the US, is in 1080i HD and has no ads during the show!

      Another +1. 720p torrents are great for the first time around, and then I watch them in high bit-rate 1080p on Blu-Ray. Great shows like Game of Thrones are worth owning in the best possible format available IMHO. If it wasn't for piracy I wouldn't have gotten into the show (I have no desire for Foxtel) and I wouldn't have bought the Blu-Rays. Piracy can lead to sales funnily enough.

    Definitely not going to pay Austar/Foxtel for ads and crappy signal, when I can get it without ads and a decent resolution!

      Except in this case foxtel show it in HD with no ads

        Yeah but you have to pay extra for HD. Or at least that was the case when I was with Austar, so I watched in SD instead.

    Series 2 came out on DVD / BluRay just over a week ago. it finished screening in June last year.
    thats a 9 month wait if you dont have foxtel.
    Series 1 was even worse, having await of 13 months between season finale & DVD release.

    Id much rather buy a DVD than download it, but I'm not gonna wait 9 months to do so.
    sure, when I can get it legally, I will, but in the meantime, torrents are the only way to go.


      I download Game of Thrones on the day it airs and watch it that night, and when they finally release it on Blu-Ray I have bought both seasons.

      I have also bought all the books because of the TV series (based on my initial downloading of it)

    At least iTunes is also making it available for immediate download, I reckon there'll be a number of Australians using that method to alleviate guilt over using channel BT.

    I waited 'till S2 came out to jump into the game 'o thrones bandwagon.

    Blu-ray is a beautiful thing.

    Where do you draw the line on the legitimacy of pirating when purchasing the DVDs/BluRays at a later date?
    I've pirated every episode of Game of Thrones so far, and plan on buying a box set BluRay (or whatever the best format is at the time) when the show finishes, but this may not be for another 5 years. But, if I buy the box set upon completion, does that validate my pirating now?

    screw it pirate everything and not stopping until Australia catches up. Download 720p when it comes out then just replace with a BR Rip upon DVD/BluRay release

    A huge factor in piracy for a show like this is that it's a cultural phenomenon and you don't want things spoiled before you watch it. So you really have to watch ASAP if you associate with others who watch it.

    I have foxtel, including the channel this is on. The simple reason I still download it is that I don't have foxtel in my home cinema. It's about flexibility and convenience. I don't feel like paying an extra $300 a year for one or two shows I would watch in that room.

    I feel like I pay for the show anyway with foxtel. I do always end up watching bits of the episodes on foxtel all the time. I also have bought both season on blu-ray the days they've come out. So I don't feel guilty.

    The problem with the foxtel pricing model is that it's based on the idea people have one screen and more boxes means a lot more people watching a lot more content. Not to provide flexibility. Three people live in my house. Ideally we'd like two extra boxes but that's another $600 a year. Stuff that.

      Off-topic. But does anyone know how feasible it is to run an extended HDMI cable and an IR repeater between rooms?

        Foxtel actually used to sell a kit for it, but it was rf coax not hdmi.

      The reason they have to charge you more per box (especially on satellite) is that you can take the box and hook it up to a dish in another house once it's installed.

      Many people do this, getting multiroom installed in one house and taking the box to their holiday home or splitting hte cost with their friends.
      Getting a dish installed is a minimal cost, the dish LNB and mount cost less than $100 and if you are keen it's not terribly hard to install them yourself.

    A couple of years ago i cut the cable because of the high price, poor good quality content and outdated delivery model (i.e. telling us what we will be watching instead of allowing us to select). I assumed that I would watch FTA for a year or so while the content providers caught up and then i would happily start handing over my money to a provider for some quality content delivered in a better way.
    Here we are in 2013 and the content providers (cable, FTA and internet) are still struggling with their existing delivery models while we obtain what we want through whatever means suits us. I believe that when the Austrlian content providers get with the program they will significantly reduce piracy.

    Not only do you have to pay for Foxtel and the extra packages, you have to fork out extra just to watch it in HD. No wonder Foxtel is afraid of the NBN.

    When I was in the states earlier this year... I watched some of the tv shows I normally watch on Hulu... so easy.. so simple... just do it already!

    Cant you just use the foxtel Go / catchup feature to play it via an iPad etc. in a different room like your HT ?

    the reason aussie tv shows it late is because it has its quota of money making reality tv to fill. anything that doesnt have some sort of dial in voting/competition attached takes a back burner, no matter how popular it is.

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