No iTunes For Game Of Thrones Season 4, Will Be Exclusive To Foxtel

It's no secret that when it comes to getting their weekly injection of Game of Thrones, Australians have no qualms with heading to their favourite torrent site to grab HBO's impeccably-produced fantasy epic. On the other hand, if you were willing to wait a day, you could also buy episodes via iTunes. Sadly, that won't be the case with season four.

As TV Tonight's David Know reports, pay TV provider Foxtel has secured exclusive rights to the show in Australia, which means it'll be noticeably absent from the local iTunes catalogue. Knox talked to Brian Walsh, Foxtel's director of television, who gave a relatively unsurprising explanation of the deal:

"Series 4 of Game of Thrones will be exclusive to Foxtel. It won't be available on iTunes ... I think having it exclusively in Australia on the Foxtel platform is indicative of the way we're approaching a lot of our acquired content now. Our absolute desire is to increase our subscriber numbers and exclusively acquiring Game of Thrones is important."

Whether or not it works in Foxtel's favour remains to be seen — it might just end up driving more people to the unencumbered freeness of the pirate superhighway.

[TV Tonight]

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    This only encourages piracy.


        Cant tell if 'yarring' in agreement or trying to re-enact 'pirate speech'

          Yarring in agreement using pirate speech to emphasise velt's point.

      Of FFS. Used to buy it off iTunes on Tuesday night the day after Foxtel aired it. It was convenient and priced well enough. Guess now I better go sign up for a 6 month subscriptions to some 'package' of channels so that I can watch ten hours of one show.

      Like seriously Foxtel marketing people. Does that sound like a likely outcome? Because lets be honest I'm going to have to pirate it now and that makes me the 'scum bag criminal'.

      How about Foxtel stops being a scum bag extortionist company.

      Last edited 02/02/14 2:58 pm

        At $110 per month giving money to Rupert Murdoch.

          Actually, it's only $55. News Corp owns, half. The other half goes to Telstra.

          It only needs to cost you $50, and that's for a month by month cancel anytime contract.

          1) Goto
          2) Pick a package ($25 for the first package, $10 if you need any extras)
          3) Select the premium movies and drama pack ($25)
          4) Signup with your credit card details
          5) Install the Foxtel Play app for PC or Mac, which you can connect to any TV with HDMI - the app is stable and works well. I've had no issues playing through HDMI on my Windows or Mac machines

          Don't get me wrong, this decision is completely stupid and will encourage people toward piracy (tip: if you don't have broadband at home and use iOS OR your just sketchy about using bittorrent OR bandwidth is at a premium, search google for "games of throwns s04e01" or just visit some "file locker" sites - and are good places to start - so you don't have to use bittorrent on a seperate computer to get the files. If you want "premium" access to several file locker sites which are tradiitonally very hard for australians to get access to (like then I can highly reccomend - works extremely well and is superb value - if you use the firefox extension you never have to see their site either, apart from signing up).

          However, spreading misinformation that the only way is to pay $110 per month is flat out wrong.

          Last edited 03/02/14 10:50 am

            I did a 1 month trial of Foxtel's service on the Xbox 360. The quality isn't that great (Torrenting offers better quality), that's why I am saying $110 for the full "HD require a special Foxtel box" package.

            All my movies and TV shows I buy on BluRay not DVD, not interested in sub par quality.

            Edit :- Also I have moved since and where I moved to I get 4Mbit ADSL so Foxtel play wont do well unless I can pre-download. I have already sent Telstra a $3600 check just before Xmas to get Cable from across the road (I am the "new" part of the street) but they f'd up and the pits don't join so are requoting, considering they drew the dam maps not sure how they missed that one. I don't think I need to give any more money to fund either Telstra or Foxtel.

            Last edited 03/02/14 5:48 pm

              That's fair enough, I would be really p1ssed off too if that was me.

              I was able to use Foxtel Play fine at my parents place on a 1.5mbit DSL connection, but as you noted, the quality isn't great. For my eyes, the quality actually improves if you select low bandwidth instead of high (the default) in the settings.
              Torrenting does offer better picture and sound quality though.
              (attention haters: this is not a justification for piracy, it's actually a fact. Go download a torrent (from a reliable source) and marvel in the wonderful picture quality).

              If you search "tv show name s01e01 mSD" this to me provides the very best for those with limited broadband. A 43 minute TV show is 180-230Mb, and a 23 minute episode can be 90-150Mb.

              It uses the latest codecs so you will need a decent processor (your $90 no name tablet will struggle - get AVI files for those), but VLC in Windows/Mac/Linux or MX Player on android will get the job done no problem. :) (VLC is still in beta on android - a paid video player is well worth a few bucks for the mass of features it gives you - BSPlayer is reccomended by lifehacker but i have not tried it)

              Last edited 04/02/14 9:04 am

        I'm the same.........I'm never getting foxtel and if I can't buy game of thrones I guess I will have to pirate it. Maybe I can post HBO $3 an episode in the mail??

        Screw you Foxtel, I hope everyone starts ditching your service. I subscribed to GoT last year to get the episodes a day later, and buy the BD releases when they come out. Now my only option to see it before internet spoilers is to pirate it.
        This is beyond stupid.

      yep agreed. I purchased the last two ssn's on itunes through apple tv after illegally dl the first ssn. this time around, i will be back to illegally dl it even though i would prefer to buy it through itunes.

        I'm in the same boat as you. First season I "obtained" it though various means, then bought the HD season pass for the next two. Now looks like I'm all out of luck. IMO It's people like us who are the targets of this move and I can tell everyone here it's not going to work. If Foxtel think I am going to subscribe just to watch 1 show they have got to be kidding themselves.

        Cmon Australia, lets get into the competitive spirit, with the winter Olympic games around the corner let's show the athletes how it's done and break our previous piracy record.

      Either it will encourage piracy, or more people to buy the books instead.

    This should really help with that whole piracy problem.

    ... Oh, wait, no... That other thing... It'll make it a whole lot worse...

    Game Of Thrones Season 4, Will Be Exclusive To FoxtelPrety sure when I "obtain" it, it will be higher resolution and "free"... :)

    this kind of crap is why i torrent my favorite shows, then buy them when they come out on blu ray.

    No, Foxtel. Just no.
    I guess my series 4 of Game of Thrones will be exclusive to Pirate Bay then. New records for Australia!

    Last edited 02/02/14 1:13 pm

    That's it! I used iTunes last year after feeling guilty about the whole situation. But now faced with the prospect of kneeling down to Rupert Murdoch and his evil monopoly, here I come! I will eventually buy the Blu-Ray though...

    Last edited 02/02/14 1:11 pm

    Best way to make more people pirate.
    When are they going to learn it is about affordable convenience .
    People do not like foxtel as it is EXPENSIVE and still has way too many ads.

    If Foxtel was serious about increasing it's numbers it needs to
    1. DROP prices significantly.
    2. Embrace IPTV.
    3. Support the NBN (not the CBN)
    4. Do a tell for more better content.
    5. Embrace TV on demand.

    Without these things foxtel may as well go bankrupt as nobody would care.

      I can't help but think the witch hunt against abc/SBS is because they have iptv options that discourage ppl from shitty, overpriced foxtel packages.

        Actually I suspect its more to do with the Australia Network tenders. Rupert murdoch *desparately* wants the contract to run the Australia Network, and the only way that is to pry it off the ABC. There was always going to be a price attached to murdoch having his newspaper chain go feral at labor for half a decade in one of the loopiest political campaigns I've ever seen. Now that the campaign is over , Rupert wants to be paid. And that price is the contract to the Australia network.

          Murdoch is bound to foreign investment laws. He is a US citizen so he is only allowed (from memory) to own 48 or 49% of a company at most.

          Don't forget, News Corp papers and others went feral against the Coalition back in 2007 when Labor won. There is no conspiracy here: the majority of Australian's decided they wanted someone else and the Coaltion (via the preference system) eventually one). The Coalition owes Murdoch nothing.

          Finally, in terms of Foxtel it's a joint venture down here. News Corp (again from memory) owns half and the other half is owned by Telstra. Yet no one seems to want to put some of the blame on Telstra despite the fact they have the monopoly on the communications infrastructures here. Not just copper by also cellular communications.

          Also, even if Murdoch's company saw anything it will be minimal because they are just providing the infrastructure and subscription handing. It's the DISTRIBUTORS that get the lion's share. They are the ones who hold the broadcasting rights and include the likes of Turner Entertainment, HBO, etc. They are the ones that decide the price and Foxtel simply passes it on to its customers.

          Seriously, all this "Blame Murdoch for everything" is getting old and is actually an insult to the intelligence of Australian's nation wide. We are not lemmings and we are not at the mercy of a foreign investor.

          Last edited 03/02/14 9:13 am

            Sorry in advance, @WiseHacker - I know you hate these lengthy posts of mine :{

            "Murdoch is bound to foreign investment laws. He is a US citizen so he is only allowed (from memory) to own 48 or 49% of a company at most."

            The 49% threshold only applies to airlines, as far as I know. For media companies, all foreign investors who wish to hold more than 5% ownership in a media company must inform the government. As with most other investments, the threshold isn't a limit on holdings, it's a limit on how much you can hold before the investment must be reviewed by the Foreign Investment Review Board (FIRB) - who in most cases, can (though not always do - sorry GrainCorp) approve up to and including 100% foreign ownership of an Australian business (, except where it is specifically precluded by other legislation - like with the Shipping Registration Act 1981.

            News Corp 100% owns The Australian, the Daily Telegraph and the Sun Herald - essentially they are completely "foreign owned" (in that they're owned by the Australian company News Corp Australia, itself a wholly owned subsidiary of News Corp, which is a US company). Now that ownership does affect his ability to own other forms of media in Australia, not (well, mostly not) because Rupert Murdoch is a US citizen, but because of laws relating to "cross media ownership" - mostly under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992. You can read a very good summary of these rules at

            "Also, even if Murdoch's company saw anything it will be minimal because they are just providing the infrastructure and subscription handing. It's the DISTRIBUTORS that get the lion's share"

            Foxtel is the distributor in this case - they secured the deal direct from HBO.

            The only other distribution deal would be for the DVD/Blu-Ray release, which won't be released until after the entire season has had its run in Australia.

            We've both had the discussion before about how "News Corp papers and others went feral against the Coalition back in 2007 when Labor won". I know I'm not going to change your mind on that (which is fine) but I've got to point out again that News Corp support for the ALP was tepid bordering on desultory (at best) in 2007, and certainly comes nowhere near the rhetoric demonstrated in 2013 (

            As to the influence News Corp has over political (and public) discourse, there is a wealth of well-researched material on this, but here's a start:


            From the first and second last paragraphs from the article on The Conversation:

            In 2007, journalist Ken Auletta ... [was] prompted him to ask: “of all the things in your business empire, what gives you the most pleasure?” Murdoch instantly replied: “being involved with the editor of a paper in a day-to-day campaign…trying to influence people”

            At one stage [in the 2012 Republican Primaries] four of the likely contenders for the Republican nomination were on his payroll as commentators on Fox News.

            So, yes, Rupert Murdoch is not the only player when it comes to political and public influence, but he is by far the biggest and most influential, and has made it clear that he actively cultivates that influence. Just look at the comments of the PM on the ABC following News Corp's creepy stalker ex-boyfriend -esque behaviour - particularly over the past 6 months - regarding the broadcaster.

            Last edited 03/02/14 10:31 am

              Sorry in advance, @wisehacker - I know you hate these lengthy posts of mine :{

              My "snowballing" comment was one I should not have made. You have nothing to apologise for.

              We've both had the discussion before about how "News Corp papers and others went feral against the Coalition back in 2007 when Labor won". I know I'm not going to change your mind on that (which is fine) but I've got to point out again that News Corp support for the ALP was tepid bordering on desultory (at best) in 2007, and certainly comes nowhere near the rhetoric demonstrated in 2013

              It was never a question about the magnitude. I'm not going to lie, the level of bias was of the scale this time. The problem was people only considering that the papers were biased during the 2013 election and did not want to remember nor accept that bias (irrespective of magnitude) was present before in 2007.

              Foxtel is the distributor in this case - they secured the deal direct from HBO.

              No offence meant, but I don't think that is entirely the case. I think, like others here, Foxtel is the broadcaster. They still have to secure the broadcasting rights from the owners (in this case HBO).

              What Foxtel has done is they have obtained exclusive broadcast rights and HBO (either as part of the deal with Foxtel or because they are just greedy pigs) have not offered the distribution rights to iTunes Australia.

              So, yes, Rupert Murdoch is not the only player when it comes to political and public influence, but he is by far the biggest and most influential, and has made it clear that he actively cultivates that influence.

              That I mostly agree with. The key word being influence. There are those who think he is actively in control and decides what happens.

              Regardless, in terms of influence, Murdoch's is minimal at best. Like I said before, Australian's are not lemmings. They don't just follow everything they see in print, no nation does (except North Korea but the citizens there are conditioned psychologically to do so).

              Australian's are more than capable of deciding for themselves. If what they read in a News Corp paper is had something to do with it then at best it is a contributing factor, not the decider. The individual is the owner of the decision made: there is "made me do it".

              Just on a side note, I found this passage in The Conversation you referenced.

              The NBN’s capacity to allow the quick downloading of movies and other content would be a threat to Murdoch’s Foxtel TV operation, so the argument goes.

              That is not factually correct. Murdoch does not directly own Foxtel as I pointed out. News Corp Australia is half ownership. Telstra (our telecommunications Jubba the Hutt) is the other half.

              If it's not 50/50 split then I will concede that my memory if off. But do not forget News Corp is not the main owner. Telstra has half ownership and what are they? Our telecommunications monopoly. Most providers here are nothing more than resellers of Telstra infrastructure.

              If NBN was a threat to anyone, it is Telstra because it would take their monopoly away and leave them worthless copy.

      You forgot a few things. If I may add:

      6. Drop the adds and keep them to paid TV offerings. Free to air TV adds have no place on paid TV.
      7. Force distributors to be more competitive and stop treating Australia as treasure Island
      8. Above all, stop having repeats to the point where one can see the same episode of a given show eight times in around 3 days (I'm looking at you, Cartoon Network!).

        I actually argued with the Foxtel sales person about ads on pay TV when I last canceled my service. Apparently they need it to make money and keep the prices of the service "down". I'd like to know how much they would charge without the ads...

      Had foxtel for the required contract period, could not get out fast enough. They need to drop their ads, all of them and I without exception. Until then, I will remain un-subscribed. How to they even remotely think it is acceptable to pay to watch advertisements is beyond me.

      I guess I'm old but I remember when ad free was a sales point for Foxtel.

    Use VPN to access american content, give foxtell the finger.

      It's a HBO show though, you need to have a HBO subscription to watch it online in the US anyway. It's not on Netflix or Hulu.

      You can't get HBO go in Australia - even if you are extremely fortunate enough to have a friend in the US (who doesn't have HBO) and the means to acquire a US credit card, but then you still need a current US cable TV subscription to get it.

      I wouldn't concern myself with trying to pay the producers/actors of the show. They are earning a tonne of cash from HBO.

      When people turn to piracy, it's HBO who will see the loss, not the producers/actors & associated companies. Eventually, HBO will wake up and realise this is no way to run a business, but I can't see that happening within the next 50 years or so (ie not within my lifetime).

    I bought the first 3 seasons on ITunes.. So I'm disappointed by this news, but it still won't see me subscribing to foxtel. Really wonder about the people that run this company.. If they think this will reduce piracy, or increase their subscriber base.. They're dreaming! Piracy will just increase.

    Comments about piracy being justified in 3, 2, 1...

      Well if it's wrong to justify piracy. Is it right to justify having to sign up for a subscription for a whole lot of stuff I don't wan't, pay a large installation cost and then watch ten hours of a show that the rest of the world can watch online for a nominal price?

        Wait for the bluray or DVD release. Or get it from a US streaming service.

          So I have to avoid using my facebook, twitter, tumblr, general forum discussions of TV shows and in general the entire internet to avoid spoilers and wait months to watch a show? You think that is a suitable action to take instead of pirating it now and buying the Blu-Ray later?

          Really using a US streaming service is also illegal, you are breaching the TOS to use it here.

            What streaming services will host it? Just HBO Go? Has anyone successfully got that here if so? From what I read you need a US cable service.

              I can't even get the app to install on my Xbox by setting the region to US, has more region protection on it than Netflix or Hulu.

              I suppose you could use US iTunes, but when breaking the law, you might as well do it for free? :p

              I use Netflix and Hulu because they're far far easier than pirating, not really because I feel compelled to pay.

              Last edited 03/02/14 10:27 am

                Yeah, I agree. Netflix through Hola is so easy. I haven't looked into Hulu yet. But maybe I should bite the bullet and pay for a VPN to get Netflix on PS3? Macbook --> Apple TV is pretty good though.

                  Unblock-US is only $4.99 a month. It's a DNS spoofer, not a VPN, which in my opinion is better. It only routes the traffic you want to overseas destinations, not all traffic like a VPN.

            how is it illegal?

              Have you actually read such ToS? See for yourself, you will find that to accept them you have to have permanent residence in a specific area and in most cases are limited to consume content available only in your place of residence.

              For example, the iTunes ToS states I have to be a resident of Australia and only shop from the Australian iTunes Store.

                Please point me to the Australian legislation that lists the Netflix TOS?

                that doesn't make it illegal!!!!!
                It isn't a law made by parliament that is governed by a criminal code. Criminal courts in Australia are not going to convict you for accessing the content!

                  Also, One of the suggestions made by the Senate hearing into the IT Pricing was educate and encourage people to bypass geo- blocking.

            Dknigs breaching terms of service is not illegal. It isn't even covered by criminal law. It is an agreement between you and the company nothing else.
            If they want to pursue you in civil court that is completely different (but they wouldn't bother).
            Region restrictions are to ensure that distribution contracts are honored and that the distributor isn't undercut by a different region provider.
            Currently Australian Law allows you to circumvent region restrictions.

              they would not pursue you in civil courts, they would just cancel your account

                Yeah i know... hence "if they want to pursue you in civil court that is completely different (but they wouldn't bother)."

                  yeah, well done foxtel, have bought every series of GoT up to now, now i have to pirate the show. even bigger dicks are HBO for agreeing to the deal. if you want to stop piracy give the people what they want, when they want it, how they want it and it will drop massively while profits go up for the producers.

                  adapt or die.

          It's not available on US streaming services for Australians.

          The companies behind this worldwide conspiracy know that geo blocks don't work so now they are requiring US cable subscriptions to signup for some online services.

          It won't be available on Netflix and even if it was available on Hulu Plus in a timely fashion, you really need to be a ex-pat US citizen to get this now-a-days as it's extremely difficult for your average australian to get their hands on a US credit card.

          Last edited 03/02/14 11:16 am

      Yes, thanks. Yet a US government panel investigation showed that making content widely available, across all platforms, actually reduces piracy, but ^ this "brainwave" of a commercial decision was made. You cannot blame people who would love to pay for content, being locked out. And what would your solution be, pre tell? If you say, buy foxtel, your cover is blown.

      I'm not for piracy at all but i agree 110% if somebody were to pirate game of thrones now but didn't before. It's a kick in the guts for the people who did the right thing and purchased on itunes or got the dvd by not giving them the option.

      IMO, it is perfectly justified.

    We know. This was announced - and widely reported - in April last year.

    Rupert must be so pleased.

      Why? It's HBO that owns the rights and will see the lions share.

        Yes, but Rupert *thinks* that now he has Tony in his back pocket, some heavy anti-piracy legislation can be rushed through and/or the "secret" meetings with ISPs and Hollywood might actually reach an agreement, then all this piracy stuff will stop, right?

        No, Rupert. That's wrong, very wrong. When NZ brought in their 3 strikes law in 2011, piracy dropped right off, but the use of tunnels like SSH and VPN increased dramatically. The same will happen here.

    The most popular show in austraila, how do you know this it's the most downloaded.
    And will be again, NOW.

    Foxtel doomsday clock is pointing to 1 min to midnight.

    I guess they don't care too much about their show being pirated then?

    Well, I think we can look forward to Rupes chief arse licker passing whatever lunatic anti-piracy legislation they have, in the bottom draw, for him. Stay tuned for some show prosecutions. Pun intended. These people are first class arseholes, an ancient, corrupt American citizen running a criminal company (everyone carefully following the hacking trial no doubt) firmly pulling the strings again here. What a debacle.

    I am wondering if it will appear in iTunes after the season has completed. I'd much rather have all the episodes at once, allowing me to watch them whenever instead of having to wait each week.

    I was staying with a friend in Sydney over Christmas and New Year, who has Foxtel. I could not see the value in it. Of the stuff I wold want to watch I would rather pay specifically for that show than pay more and get all the channels that I am not interested in.

    Top speed NBN and XBMC is my new best friend.
    They don't seem to be very good at the whole business thing by the sounds of it all.

    I'm guessing HBO knows exactly how many sales of GoT season 3 via iTunes happened in Australia. I'm also guessing Foxtel offered more than that for season 4.
    If so, that makes sense for HBO and bad luck for those of us who want to pay iTunes for it. If not, and again I'm guessing, there could be some multi-show-package that HBO wanted Telstra to buy and GoT was a bargaining chip.
    To me it looks like the real loser is Foxtel who is investing money in GoT that they won't make back in new subscribers.

    when will game of thrones air on free tv? its a great show, ah well, no itunes, Kickass shall do

      It wouldn't be worth watching with all the ads. Better off picking up the box-set on release.

    Correction; only on Foxtel and Pirate Bay.

      When Foxtel start running ads promoting exclusive access to GOT, I want the Pirate Bay to run some ads too.

      Unfortunately just like most "get up" campaign ads, it will probably be rejected by the networks.

    What are HBO thinking? Surely they would have made as much money, if not more, having it up for download after it airs on Foxtel? I'm dumping foxtel after hooking my Apple TV up to netflix and hulu plus. Foxtel can go screw themselves. Australians need to wake up and stop being a soft touch to crooks like Foxtel and telstra.

    Just to voice the opposite point of view. I have Foxtel -- Season 3 was the first time it was easier to record GOT than to stuff around with torrents or rar files. My torrent speeds were dreadful on iinet the evening of a GOT episode.

    Foxtel never had an episode with audio-sync issues, German sub-titles (my fault, clicked the wrong torrent) or that episode that was missing a couple of minutes at the end. Or waiting for a high-res version to appear.

    I think Foxtel gets it. They know they have to compete with torrents. If you only watch GOT, go pirate, but if you watch lots of TV, Foxtel's coming around to delivering stuff as soon as they can. Interesting times.

      I have foxtel too and it's a lowsy 576i resolution... I'd rather take my chances on torrents than have my eyeballs bleed. iTunes option last season was terrific, at least it was 720p.

      See money isn't the problem. Take my wallet, give me 1080p on the day it comes out and there will be no complaints from me.

      Last edited 03/02/14 9:35 am

      There are easy ways to automate your torrents - I don't allow any RAR files to download in my client (I've only *had* to download a rar file once, because there was no other way to get it).

      I have a basic $25 Foxtel package as well at the moment, it does come in handy for news anytime. I will consider dropping it though.

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