Would You Pay $50 Per Episode To See Game Of Thrones?

from the questions,-questions dept

The HBO series Game of Thrones always seems to be at the center of the piracy debate. The show’s mass popularity certainly has something to do with that (popular content is almost always at the top of various infringement lists), but a big part of it is that, even for people willing to pay for the show, the fact that the only way to do so is to get an expensive cable subscription is a big part of the problem. In fact, there’s some reason to suggest that the vast amount of piracy around Game of Thrones has been a key part of its success — something that many folks associated with the show will admit in candid moments before being told by corporate bosses to shut up.

And while the legacy entertainment industry continues to take a “zero tolerance” approach to infringement, by pretending that their various (extremely limited) online services are good enough, the simple truth is that it’s ridiculously expensive for folks who just want to watch Game of Thrones online. The good folks at TorrentFreak took a look at what it would cost in a bunch of different countries to watch the authorized version of the show if you were a cord cutter who wasn’t interested in anything else in a cable subscription. The Australian result may be the most shocking:

When we look at the packages offered on the website the cheapest option appears to be the movie and drama combo, which costs $74 AUD (~ 70 USD) per month. However, the minimum subscription term is six months, which with the added costs adds up to $520 AUD (~ 590 USD). Assuming that someone’s only interested in watching Game of Thrones, an Australian fan will have to pay $52 AUD (~ 49 USD) per episode, which is rather expensive

That’s a bit of an understatement. And this is especially interesting, given that the US ambassador and the MPAA have repeatedly pointed to Game of Thrones piracy as a top priority that the Australian government needs to “fix.” Perhaps, instead, there should be a focus on making it so that each episode is actually reasonably affordable. The situation, of course, is equally ridiculous in most other countries that TorrentFreak explored. And, yes, as HBO has said over and over again, it has good business reasons for doing this (it makes a ton of money from cable and satellite companies for each subscriber — likely more than they’d pay individually). But the end result is that it should hardly be surprising that plenty of people choose an alternative route — and it shouldn’t be something that has US ambassadors up in arms.

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Comments on “Would You Pay $50 Per Episode To See Game Of Thrones?”

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101 Comments
Internet Zen Master (profile) says:

Re: 50 bucks an episode?!

Speaking of anime, has anyone else here noticed the rather unsettling trend of anime series only getting 1 season of 12-13 episodes these days, which means the ones based on manga tend to get completely warped beyond all recognition plot-wise halfway through the season?

I noticed this ‘shows only getting 13 episodes per season’ trend in some of the live-action TV shows here in the US. Case in point, FOX’s Almost Human only had 13 episodes for its (hopefully first) season, when it clearly needed 26 to fill in some of the gaping plotholes.

Seriously, why the general shift from 24-26 down to 12-13 episodes per season?

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: 50 bucks an episode?!

Seriously, why the general shift from 24-26 down to 12-13 episodes per season?

Money. More specifically than that I’m not sure, but I guarantee it’s about money. Possibly risk – the studios don’t want to commit to 26 episodes only to “have to” cancel it midway through the season for poor ratings. With only a 13 episode season, they’re investing less, so have less downside risk. And if it goes well, then they can renew for another season, so the only upside they’re risking is losing viewers between seasons. And we’ve seen that the movie and TV studios are not into taking risks lately.

PaulT (profile) says:

“Would You Pay $50 Per Episode To See Game Of Thrones?”

No.

I’d be willing to pay a reasonable subscription fee to HBO Go for their shows without a cable subscription, a premium add-on to my existing Netflix account, or any number of things that their business model is apparently allergic to.

But, as ever it’s their right to do things their way. Just don’t whine when people are left with no choice other than pay this sort of money for unnecessary services or pirate the show.

Well, there is one other choice, the one myself and many other I know have chosen – consume content by their competitors instead.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re:

Turning to their competitors might indeed make them reconsider their lousy treatment of their customers. Mind you, they’ll probably blame any losses on piracy.

Please can we say, “experience” instead of “consume” with regard to content? Maximalists currently own the narrative on copyright and infringement and use words like that to justify their stances. It’s amazing the power words have; just by changing from a word that implies changing an item irrevocably you can point out the fallacy in their arguments and put them on the defensive, where we are now. That’s why I’m pushing this and I hope you will, too.

Apart from that, I think you’re right.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

“likely more than they’d pay individually”

Which might be true to a point, but once you consider the number of people who don’t have a couple hundred a month to piss away get a package to watch it on cable/satellite.
Of course then you still suffer with the you have to watch it when we want you to watch it… because they are working on making sure that DVR solutions aren’t that beneficial. One little programming slip, and you lose the first 5 minutes or last 5 minutes.
Then you need to understand the neighborhood no longer gathers around the massive 8 inch set the rich neighbors bought (making sure little Jimmy never goes to college), they have massive screens in their pockets… and if the stars align right you might be lucky enough to have it offered (for an extra fee) for streaming… which will put you over your cap and push your cell bill to double your house payment.

Or… you click a link, solve a captcha, zip it over to your preferred device and watch it how, when, where you want.

At a buck a head, several million viewers is still millions coming in… cord cutting exists, perhaps it might be time to stop locking yourself into a dying platform and embrace direct sales. Better than neilson numbers to see how popular your content is, and I bet they might even pay an extra quarter for an ad free version.

Perhaps it is time to stop playing cloak and dagger about the deals and the actual numbers.
Movies make hundreds of millions, yet somehow never make enough to cover the costs to make it.
So horrible is the math that they need tax breaks to keep filming shows with the highest ratings.

It is time to force them to be honest, and reconnect with the market they take for granted. If you aren’t making the consumer happy, you have failed in business.

Anonymous Coward says:

There's something worse than piracy

Disinterest. I can’t be bothered to go through all the trouble and all the expense to watch this series, so I’ve never seen it. Not one minute.

Which means that HBO is making $O off me (directly) and $O off me (indirectly, since I won’t be recommending it to anyone because of course I have no idea if it’s any good or not).

The same thing is true of everything else on HBO and Showtime too. I hear about them, I sometimes see a headline about them, perhaps see a meme based on them; but I can’t be bothered to care because I know full well that trying to watch them will be an exercise in frustration: I’ll have to sign up for this and that, surrender a lot of personal information, then find out I can’t watch them on BSD or Linux, and so on.

“Watching an episode of Game of Thrones” should cost 99 cents and take about 30 seconds to pay for and use open non-DRM’d video so that it’s watchable on everything.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: There's something worse than piracy

I’m right along with AC#4. I have no interest and have never seen a single show of this Game of Thrones series. I dropped cable long ago when I compared price to what I was getting and what I wished and really wanted. Simply it didn’t measure up to my expectations for the price.

I could go pirate it, I know where to find it. The problem is I have lost all interest in TV and the crap put up on it. I’m not going to pay for reruns, not going to put up with commercials, nor with being hit with high prices for little value. I have no interest in what the Neilson ratings tell them. I see no value in their market as it is configured. I went from a paying customer for years to nothing and it’s remained that way. They would have to totally redo their methods to bring me back and I don’t see that happening until they have no audience to speak of. Cable cutting seems to be bringing part of the message to them.

I just don’t see these tv programs as even being worth downloading. They may be of value to you or one of your family. I personally don’t see value in them. I’ve been away from the exposure and the market long enough to have lost all reference to anything they put out.

ethorad (profile) says:

I don’t think that’s really a fair comparison, after all they’re looking at the price for a whole bundle and ascribing all the cost to just one part of it. This is reasonable to a certain extent (eg ignoring all the extra channels bundled in and attributing the cost to the one or two you’re actually interested in) but I think attributing all the cost to just one show is a bit extreme.

You can do much better than $50 an episode by waiting for the DVD release. I pay around $2 per episode to watch GoT as many times as I like.

If you are only counting ways to watch a series the instant it’s released (ie no waiting for DVD release windows) then the cost could go up astronomically. Granted I think GoT was released relatively simultaneously around the world, but for other shows you would need to factor in weekly flights to the US and a hotel which has access to the relevant cable channel. $500 per episode for non-simutaneous releases? Suddenly $50 sounds much more reasonable 🙂

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

You can do much better than $50 an episode by waiting for the DVD release.

Problem with that is avoiding all spoilers, and not being able to join the conversation about the episode. The same problem exists with geographic releases for many people. When will the industry get it into their thick heads that they have a worldwide audience, and should therefore release worldwide, at least for each language they will release in.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Somewhere there is a TV exec with his hands over his ears yelling NO NO NO NO NO like a toddler.

They spent years subdividing the world into little markets that they bleed a little at a time, how dare we build a world wide nearly instantaneously connected network and ruin their plans.

Now they have to decide to dismantle the broken systems they created for the old way, embrace the new way, or just declare all out war on their CUSTOMERS and keep engaging in a losing battle.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

“Problem with that is avoiding all spoilers, and not being able to join the conversation about the episode.”

You just need a different set of friends. I’m not personally interested in GoT, but several of my friends are fanatical about it. Even so, you know what is never a topic of discussion among my friends? Game of Thrones. The most I’ve heard about it is that it’s a great show.

jupiterkansas (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

So the solution for someone that doesn’t want to pay for cable is get new friends?

And wouldn’t it be nice to discuss it with your friends, rather than avoid a conversation that they all might like to talk about? The social value is the impetus behind a lot of television’s popularity.

The point here is that restricting access to content only drives more piracy. People who want to watch it but can’t will find a way, and wouldn’t it be better for HBO offered a way where they made some income. A lot of people would be happy to pay, but not at the price of getting HBO.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

I’ve not watched the series myself, but it’s pretty well known that many changes have been made between the books and the TV show (as naturally happens during any adaptation). For example: http://gameofthrones.wikia.com/wiki/Characters_significantly_changed_between_books_and_TV_series

Reading the books won’t help avoid spoilers of the things they changed between source and adaptation.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“I don’t think that’s really a fair comparison, after all they’re looking at the price for a whole bundle and ascribing all the cost to just one part of it.”

That is the actual point. People who defend HBO’s tactics tend to pretend that it’s only the HBO subscription fee that needs to be paid. But, there’s many other costs in reality, unless you happen to already paying for everything else for other reasons. To obtain that one show, this is what is actually costs assuming that someone only wants to access the one show and not anything else included in the package.

Nobody’s really going to do that, of course. This is just to illustrate the problem.

“You can do much better than $50 an episode by waiting for the DVD release.”

But, that’s delayed, usually long after the actual discussion has taken place. IIRC, is was nearly a year for the first season. Many are willing to pay more for quicker access, but not what they technically need to pay with the current offerings.

“If you are only counting ways to watch a series the instant it’s released (ie no waiting for DVD release windows) then the cost could go up astronomically.”

Unless you pirate. Which is ultimately the point with a lot of these services. HBO probably have their reasons, but many would-be customers have literally no choice other than piracy if they’re not going to pay the $50/episode equivalent above.

“but for other shows you would need to factor in weekly flights to the US and a hotel which has access to the relevant cable channel”

Or a VPN service from the comfort of your own home. Just because the comparison seems silly, you don’t have to go overboard 😉

ethorad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The point I’m making is that assuming the entire HBO subscription is paying for those 10 episodes is a biased number. They are assuming that there is absolutely nothing else you want HBO for, but that there’s lots of other things that you want the TV for.

If you’re willing to assume that the hypothetical person doesn’t want to watch anything else on HBO, why not also assume that they don’t want to watch anything else? A good TV could set you back $1,000 (?) so that’s an extra $100 per episode.

I agree with the point – it should be easier to pick and choose which parts of a package you want, so you don’t end up paying for stuff you don’t want. I’m just pointing out that the $50 an episode calculation is robust enough to be a MPAA/RIAA number.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“They are assuming that there is absolutely nothing else you want HBO for”

Yes, that’s exactly the point. The point is that if someone wants to obtain GoT, obtain it now and obtain it legally, that’s the only method available.

Your own points are totally valid, but they ignore the whole point of the article. It’s just an illustration of the hoops a would-be legal customer would have to jump through to obtain one product, and a clue as to why many don’t bother even if they’re willing to pay a reasonable premium for access.

“I’m just pointing out that the $50 an episode calculation is robust enough to be a MPAA/RIAA number.”

Except, of course, that Mike knows that the calculation is obviously ridiculous and unrealistic for anyone to actually pay. If only the **AAs would learn that and start using real numbers!

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

If you’re willing to assume that the hypothetical person doesn’t want to watch anything else on HBO, why not also assume that they don’t want to watch anything else? A good TV could set you back $1,000 (?) so that’s an extra $100 per episode.

No, that’s an extra $1000. It’s a fixed cost, so assigning it to episodes of GoT A) is problematic and B) depends on how many episodes there end up being, so is currently impossible.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Plus, it’s a dumb argument anyway. Apart from the fact that you wouldn’t need a TV to watch GoT if it was made available via streaming (any cheap phone, tablet or computer would do), you certainly don’t need a “good” one. Even if you did need to factor in the TV for some reason, a person could conceivably use it every single day yet not watch one minute of any other TV show – Netflix, DVDs or video games utilise the TV quite nicely without ever having to see any content made for TV.

ethorad is not only missing the point actually being made, he’s having to stretch far too much to try and make the point he wants.

ethorad (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Um no, as I said I agree with the point they’re making, I just disagree with the methodology of the number.

Essentially, if you want to watch GoT right now legally you need:
– A TV
– An electricity supply
– A subscription to HBO

All of these things can be used for things other than watching GoT. The calculation in question assumes that the person has other uses for a TV and an electricity supply so doesn’t count them as a GoT cost. I’m just pointing out that it’s a fairly arbitrary assumption and other assumptions are equally valid – everything from the only thing he would need a TV for is GoT, so the cost is huge, or he would actually want to watch Breaking Bad, CSI, whatever else is on, so the GoT cost is low.

nasch (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

I’m just pointing out that it’s a fairly arbitrary assumption and other assumptions are equally valid – everything from the only thing he would need a TV for is GoT, so the cost is huge, or he would actually want to watch Breaking Bad, CSI, whatever else is on, so the GoT cost is low.

But it seems unlikely in the extreme that there are any significant number of people who are very interested in watching GoT and have no device capable of playing video. With no TV, no smartphone, no tablet, and no computer, how would you even get interested in the show to begin with? So there’s no point in including that cost. On the other hand, there are clearly people whose only interest in broadcast TV is GoT.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

“Essentially, if you want to watch GoT right now legally you need:
– A TV
– An electricity supply
– A subscription to HBO”

No, you only need one of those things. If you have the HBO subscription, you can watch the HBO Go content without a TV, and you don’t even need your own electricity supply to charge the device.

“All of these things can be used for things other than watching GoT. “

Indeed, but you’re really stretching the point here, to a ridiculous level.

The first 2 things you mention have a huge number of uses that have nothing to do with watching any TV at all, let alone specifically that show. It’s a totally valid assumption that someone interested in watching a TV show will have a device capable of doing so, and the power to use it, already in their possession.

The criticism is of the need for the latter, and the silly number of prerequisites necessary to be able to obtain it. You don’t have to go into the realms of fantasy to understand the point being made.

“or he would actually want to watch Breaking Bad, CSI, whatever else is on, so the GoT cost is low.”

2 of the shows you mention are available with a Netflix subscription, Hulu or other methods with low costs – and one even available on free to air. They have multiple ways available at different reasonable price points. GoT isn’t, unless you already pay for a prohibitively expensive number of pre-required services or wait to pay another premium long after the show’s aired. That’s the point.

JEDIDIAH says:

Re: TCO

but I think attributing all the cost to just one show is a bit extreme.

Not at all. If there’s a lot of extraneous nonsense that you have to put up in order to get something, that’s an added cost of that thing. It’s an externality that’s being ignored. While such things are often ignored by many, they still are acknowledged in purely academic terms.

Hidden costs don’t just pay themselves.

athe says:

Re: Re:

Last year, season 3 of GoT was available in Australia on multiple platforms – iTunes, Quickflix, Foxtel. The prices were very reasonable. I personally paid $35AU for the entire season in HD on iTunes, and am soon going to pay another $50 for the Blu-ray release. This season, apart from Foxtel, all other avenues for purchasing the show at release disappeared.

I’m currently living with the in-laws who have Foxtel, so am able to watch the series as it is airs. Had we not had this option, I would have paid the very reasonable price of $35 (hell, I’d go as high as $50) if it had been on iTunes. I would not have got a cable/sat subscription however (I don’t watch anything else on the in-law’s sub).

Guess what option that would have left for me, an avid fan of the series, who wants to actually pay for the series…

Anonymous Coward says:

“it shouldn’t be something that has US ambassadors up in arms.”

Of course it should be!!! How are politicians and regulators expected to advance their personal agenda unless they work to protect and advance industry interests against the public interest? The public domain? Who needs it, it’s not like the public even matters.

Violynne (profile) says:

“Would You Pay $50 Per Episode To See Game Of Thrones?”
Not only would I not give them $50 per episode, I wouldn’t give them one red cent.

Why give them money they’ll use to funnel into Congress to draft more draconian copyright laws?

The content industry isn’t the problem. It’s people who can’t seem to live their lives without the over-inflated markup of the content.

Until the audience changes its behavior, these articles remain pointless because we all know the content industry will never change.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re:

As you have correctly pointed out, Violynne, the content industry is not obliged to change because of the protectionism they’re consuming.

Yes, consuming. Think about it; they get some protections granted and enforced, use them up, then want more. If that’s not consumption, what is?

If we stop the protectionism, end of problem. And it starts, as you rightly said, by not giving them any of our money. When that dries up, so will their ability to influence policy.

Ramon Creager (profile) says:

Anti-competitive behaviour: the new normal

Not a GOT viewer, but I am a cord-cutter and a soccer nut. While I can watch UEFA Champion’s League soccer on FoxSoccer2Go and MLS soccer on MLSLive (both reasonable models on how it ought to be done), I can’t watch any of my favorites, the Spanish Primera. And that is because BeIN sports owns the rights (and those to the EPL), and will only stream to Comcast, DirecTV and Dish customers.

Now, why would I need an expensive satellite or cable contract so that I can bypass it all and stream? It makes Zero sense. This is IMO an anti-competitive practice. It really is theft (how ironic), and ought to be banned. (I’m not holding my breath.)

The other thing that may change this situation is more people cutting the cord. Just say no to bundling thievery, and yes to a better life without these crooks.

Donglebert The Needlessly Unready says:

HBO Go should just copy Netflix

Being device, and therefore reseller, agnostic is a massive selling point for Netflix. If you want it, you can get it. If you don’t like it, you can stop. And all for a few dollars/pounds/whatever a month. (Here in the UK it’s ?5 a month).

Netflix has something like 40 million global subscribers. How many of those subscribers signed up for Breaking Bad and didn’t leave?

HBO Go should be just as easy.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: HBO Go should just copy Netflix

They don’t even need to do that. Just licence the shows to Netflix and let them use their expensive infrastructure that already exists rather than trying to copy it at great cost. Ditto Amazon, Blinkbox, etc.

The problem, as ever, is business model. HBO are so invested in cable subscriptions and expensive resales to TV stations other countries that they can’t just turn around and offer the service their potential customers actually want.

“How many of those subscribers signed up for Breaking Bad and didn’t leave?”

More to the point – how many signed up for House Of Cards? Although Breaking Bad is a good example for the UK market, and one that looks to be continuing with other shows (From Dusk Till Dawn is a “Netflix Original” outside the US).

In case people aren’t aware of the reference – rather than force people to wait for the entire season or another artificial window, Netflix UK streamed new episodes of BB’s final season the day after the US premiere. A true win-win – UK customers got the show ASAP, while the network ensured a lot of people would pay instead of pirating.

Pragmatic says:

Re: Re: HBO Go should just copy Netflix

HBO are so invested in cable subscriptions and expensive resales to TV stations other countries that they can’t just turn around and offer the service their potential customers actually want.

I can’t see any harm in providing a package for cord-cutters that runs alongside it, perhaps licensed to Netflix. They see them as competitors, I know, but couldn’t they strike some kind of deal that offers a bare-bones service to net-only viewers? From what I saw on the Eric Kessler video where he discussed their business model, he was aware of the cord-cutters but thought it more important to maintain their business model than to meet market demand ? mostly because he didn’t have to. I still can’t see a business reason for not offering BOTH cable subscription AND a bare-bones service via Netflix or similar.

Anonymous Coward says:

there is only one way to sort this shit out, if the removal of copyright continues to be operational, which it obviously will and that is to boycot everything thing that has to be purchased to watch. the reason the studios do nothing when approx 40% of those to do with the industry downloads stuff is because the studios would collapse if it were put out that anyone working for them was criminalised. they dont have much choice but to let it go on. with the customers however, they think that there are so many, a few being sued wont make any difference to anyone, except the poor fucker on the receiving end. if customers were to boycott everything from every studio they would soon take notice. while there is no action taken compounded action against them, the studios just carry on screwing those who pay into the ground and suing those who dont. and it’s just because they can do it, not because they have to!

Anonymous Coward says:

You know one way HBO could solve this?

With an a l? carte option – they could conceivably cut the cord from the Mediacos, and sell it individually for a small price per episode (I’m pretty sure that HBO could conceivably try $1.50/ep) for things like Game of Thrones and Spartacus. For their lesser shows, HBO could go as low as $0.20/episode.

Make it DRM-free, have a free ad-filled torrent a day or two later that’s equivalent to their TV releases at the moment, and I think that HBO could easily make enough money to solve their reliance on NBCUniversal and other cablecos.

Hell, sign an exclusivity deal with Netflix for some independent shows and get some revenues that way.

Mark Gisleson (profile) says:

This is nothing new

Sports fans have endured this for years now. Want to watch the MN Timberwolves? You must have a cable package that includes Fox Sports, ESPN, TNT/TBS and access to NBA TV. If you do it right, you may be able to watch your team play in their taxpayer-subsidized arena for a little less than $7 a game (x 82 games).

Welcome to our brave new rentier society. And once you’re used to paying these rents, you’ll be ready for a world in which you never get to own anything. Your car will be leased, your home rented, major appliances leased, and, of course, any entertainment you purchase can be deleted remotely at the behest of just about anyone who’s not you.

Anonymous Coward says:

“And, yes, as HBO has said over and over again, it has good business reasons for doing this (it makes a ton of money from cable and satellite companies for each subscriber — likely more than they’d pay individually).”

Lets do a bit of math here.

http://www.thewrap.com/cable-bill-battle-subscribers-providers-carriage-fees

According to the this article HBO is not in the top 10 most expensive cable TV networks, and the 10th most expensive, CNN, gets $0.60 per subscriber, even if they never watch CNN.

Now, a look at wikipedia about HBO says this.

“As of August 2013, HBO’s programming is available to approximately 32,445,000 television households (28.41% of cable, satellite and telco customers) in the United States (32,144,000 subscribers or 28.15% of all households with pay television service receive at least HBO’s primary channel),[1][2] making it the second largest premium channel in the United States (Encore’s programming reaches 41.6 million pay television households as of August 2013[1][3]). In addition to its U.S. subscriber base, HBO also broadcasts in at least 151 countries covering approximately 114 million subscribers worldwide.”

Lets just focus on the US numbers, 32,144,000, that’s $19,286,400 total in subscription money if HBO gets $0.60 per subscriber.

According to a google search, Game of Thrones record high for ratings is a grand 6.6 million people, which means HBO has 25.5 million subscribers in the US who never watch game of thrones. Yet HBO collects over 15.3 million dollars from them. Game of Thrones actual viewers give them just 4 million dollars in subscription fees.

Doing some more math, if HBO charged a mere $2.92 for a subscription to game of thrones, they’d make just as much money from that as they do from their Cable TV subscriptions in the US. HBO could even charge $5 for a subscription to watch of thrones, and come out ahead over the cable TV subscription model.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

NO NO NO!

Firstly Australians don’t normally use cable TV in fact we have a major Free to Air TV model that we use mostly instead. Foxtel portray themselves as a cable company but instead have bugger all programmes that are exclusive and this includes major sporting events as well.

Our major networks are all digital stations broadcasting freely nearly all major USA, UK, and Australian shows that are freely available after broadcast as well on ‘catch up’ (on demand) streaming via the network websites.

GoT is an anomaly in this mix as FoxTel have n exclusivity (which is bordering on anti-competitive behaviour) and is why it’s downloaded as it is by Aussies.

Name some major cable only series in the USA and Australians will normally have this on FreeTV and lately we normally have this the week (sometimes a day) after broadcast in he US. Glee, Grimm, Bones, Castle.

Also our Cable TV is NOT a part of an ISP subscription. It’s totally independent of internet providers especially since most internet service is provided via ADSL2 using standard fixed line telephone copper and payed for seperately as well. Cable TV is NOT the norm in Australia

swinefever says:

It's only a fiver in the UK

The information they give for the UK is just wrong.

You can get a NowTV subscription for just ?4.99 a month (yes, less than 5 pounds) and you can watch Season 4 of GoT live or on catch-up and it gives you access to all 3 previous seasons On Demand. You also get a bunch of other Sky channels (assuming you care) and other programs from HBO (once agin, assuming you care).

This is the cheapest way of legally watching GoT in the UK. I know, because it’s what I do.

Digger says:

There are more people watching than they know

A lot of people are using sling devices to allow friends / family to watch Game of Thrones without subscribing as well.

Others have built their own *feeds* using HD PVRs and media transcoding to allow friends / relatives to access from their personal file servers without pushing the content globally.

These aren’t even on HBO’s radar, but add to the show’s popularity and eventual DVD/Blu-Ray sales when each season is released.

Anonymous Coward says:

first, my cable and hbo costs me $25 above what just internet alone would cost on Comcast. It isn’t even worth it to me to do the antenna to my Tivo and hulu thing, $25 a month is nothing, so I pay.

However, for those of you wanting to stick it to comcast/Time warner/ etc, you can get a VPN and a HBO Nordic subscription for less than $25 a month. That’s $5 a show, don’t act like pirating is saving you hundreds of dollars.

My Name Here says:

Cool Story But Stupid

The assumptions made in this story are completely stupid.

First off, you wouldn’t get cable to watch a single show. It’s like buying a monthly bus pass to ride the bus once a month. It’s nuts.

So one of two things happens here: They get cable and watch it all month, and pay marginally more to also have HBO, or they wait and buy the DVD when it comes out.

There is a third option, which is just living without it. The world doesn’t end if you don’t get to see Game Of Thrones. It’s not worth $50 a show or even $1 a show to many of us. Someone who isn’t a cable subscriber isn’t going to suddenly fork out that sort of money just to watch a single show. Using this as an excuse for piracy is perhaps one of the most obvious self-justification posts I have seen.

My Name Here says:

Re: Re: Re:

I got the point. I think you miss the point, which is that someone who is against cable for whatever reason isn’t going to suddenly get it for a single show, so trying to say “get cable for this show only” is a meaningless discussion.

It also assumes that the user would never turn the TV on otherwise, would never watch another single show, and generally would ignore it except for that one hour or so every so often for a single show.

That would be dumbfuck no matter which way you look at it.

What you don’t seem to get is that it’s the collective value of HBO shows that should sell the concept. A single show may be the tipping point for some people, but really, there is a lot on the channel and you likely would want it for that.

Moreover, since the majority of city dwellers in Australia already have a cable type hookup, the question in price would be the difference between their current rates and the rates with HBO. Do you honestly think that all of the downloaders are cable cutters?

Think before you reply. I know it’s hard for someone like you to do it, but try. Go look at the numbers of cable subscribers in Oz, and then really think about your answer.

John Fenderson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

“What you don’t seem to get is that it’s the collective value of HBO shows that should sell the concept. A single show may be the tipping point for some people, but really, there is a lot on the channel and you likely would want it for that.”

Everybody gets that point. Perhaps the point you’re missing is that there are a lot of people that who want to watch GoT and also who have no interest whatsoever in any other cable offerings, HBO or not.

Nobody is actually going to subscribe to cable to watch GoT. That’s not the point of the math. The point of the math is to show how high the barrier is for people who want GoT and only GoT. This high barrier encourages piracy. (It doesn’t justify it, so no need to go there). If HBO wanted to reduce the amount of GoT piracy, they would do well to provide a way to watch it that doesn’t cost $50 per episode.

“Think before you reply.”

Physician, heal thyself. Especially before slinging around insults based on your own lack of understanding.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Moreover, since the majority of city dwellers in Australia already have a cable type hookup, the question in price would be the difference between their current rates and the rates with HBO.

What the hell??? where did you get this bullshit factoid from?

THE MAJORITY IN AUSTRALIA DO NOT USE CABLE TV!!!!

In fact we all mostly still use Free2view Digital TV via antenna’s.. You know those things that are on roofs? Cable TV is actually a very minor part of Australia’s viewing within the major metro areas and nearly zero within outlying country areas.

The only reason most people even bother to pay for Foxtel is if they really want to watch some PayTv exclusive sports event (there is less and less of them since freeview has more sports now) , or they have more money than sense… or both

Go look at the numbers of cable subscribers in Oz, and then really think about your answer.

I did… did you though? oh btw it’s less than 20-25% of metro households now and dropping and predicted by orgs like budde and OzTam to be below 20% by 2016. Why? because our FreeView Digital TV is Free, HD and VERY GOOD!!

My Name Here says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The numbers I see are 30% of all households in Austalia, but that number is slightly lopsided because there are significant areas who have no cable TV or limited service. This does not include any other delivery options. Where these is good service, the takeup rate is higher.

The takeup on cable in Australia has remained stable for a number of years. Australia like many low density population countries (like the US) have major problems due to lack of competition and high costs of distribution as a result.

” oh btw it’s less than 20-25% of metro households “

Source please! The updated reports I found online showed 2013 rates right around that area overall. Where are you seeing different numbers (and please, no opinion blogs… actual facts!)

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The latest reliable figures by Peter Budde Communications was produced around Dec 2013 though is sadly behind a huge cost service (unless you have $125AU to spend) and talks about how the introduction and now the major switch over to Digital Free To Air (FTA) has not only made the household takeup of Subscription TV (STV) that was around the 27% mark in early 2013 ( stats from that Budde report can be found on this older Feb 2013 blog post – down bottom) gone below that but WAY below that due to the actual content that the FTA stations are purchasing (at great expense that some see as unmaintainable). It’s estimated it could be as low as 23% in some circles (some doomsayers are saying below 20%)

Though remember, and you even state this, these are ONLY major metropolitan areas of the capital state cities. Mostly Melbourne, Sydney, and Brisbane .

Also with the population of Aust being less than 26mill STV competing with FTA doesn’t have much room to move and their whole business models are reliant on a 30% share. It’s not going to happen in the foreseeable future and unless our National Broadband Network is put in place soon the subscription model for cable (which uses some cable and some copper) is doomed to failure since no more cable can actually be legally laid anymore in older suburbs and countrywide its just too bloody expensive.

Oh.. this is a breakdown (and glimpse with data sets) of the early 2013 report. http://www.budde.com.au/Research/Australia-Broadcasting-Digital-TV-Pay-TV-IPTV.html

The churn of 13% has now increased to near 40% (some think more) especially since uptake of Digital TV is now 100% Australia Wide. mainly because Analog has now been switched off (100% makes sense then)

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:4 Re:

Also you mihght be interested that the statistics are based on households only, and currently within australia there are only 8.5million households.

Which equates to over 6.5million in early 2013 NOT having payTV though every single one of those 8.5mill homes have a TV (and most > 2). Now that figure of those Only watching FTA or iView [our ABC internet system – think like the BBC] or Internet (youtube) has estimated to rise to above 7million.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Better yet, refer to someone who actually lives in Australia, and knows you’re spouting bullshit. But then again, you’re the jackass who insists that if you haven’t lived in a country for a standard amount of time, you’re unfit to criticize it at all. Never mind the fact that an actual Australian is already in the thread, proving that you’re wrong and a lying sack of shit, as usual.

So, horse with no name – how much time have you spent your life in Australia, and Germany?

JMT says:

Re: Cool Story But Stupid

“The assumptions made in this story are completely stupid.”

Be careful throwing that word around…

“First off, you wouldn’t get cable to watch a single show.”

Well done, you’ve actually hit on the main point without even realising it. People won’t pay just to watch GoT, they’ll get it elsewhere instead. An entire section of the market is being ignored and not earning anybody any money. How is that a good business decision? And if it turns out that keeping it exclusive does actually maximise their profit, why the hell are they complaining about it?!

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Cool Story But Stupid

There is a third option, which is just living without it.

I just can’t help but laugh every time I see this line, given how ultimately destructive it would be for the ‘entertainment’ industry if people took this option more often.

If someone pirates, they might not be paying now, but given multiple studies have found that those that pirate more also tend to buy more, there’s at least fair odds that if someone pirates they might end up buying later on, should they find the quality acceptable.

However, if someone really took to mind the idea of ‘living without it’, you know how much the studio/label/company is getting from that person, at that point, and in the future?

Nothing.

They’re not getting money now, and odds are they’re not getting it ever, because there’s always more out there, and if someone is really going the path of ‘do without’, then they’re going to find that other content, and end up completely forgetting about the previous show/music/movie.

Not to defend piracy mind, personally I’m against it for several reasons, ‘It’s a waste of time, why go through the hassle when there’s so much stuff legally available, offered at a decent price and on decent terms from companies/groups that don’t hold a seething contempt for their customers?’ being one of the major ones.

peopleagainstheft (profile) says:

I think cars are too expensive, so i’m just going to take one. Seriously – if you think GoT is too expensive – don’t watch! It’s not one of the basic necessities of life. If the HBO bundle is too expensive – people won’t take it – and HBO goes out of business or drops its price. But the whole premise here is that stealing is ok if you don’t like the price. How can a market work like that?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I don’t. I don’t watch, I don’t download, and yet I pay taxes on blank media levies that don’t pay artists because somehow I must be a pirate.

Incidentally, the City of London Police recently had this to say:

?If you value the NHS [National Health Service], you should also value IP and our creative industries, as together they help pay for the services in this country that we all cherish. If we take the wrong approach, national services that we take for granted will have a huge budget shortfall.?

So, the copyright camp is considering that IP-driven entertainment is, in fact, should be treated as a “basic necessity of life”, on par with healthcare.

G Thompson (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Thankfully this story is about Australia where alleged Infringement of Copyright is NOT classified as theft, larceny nor stealing in any way shape or form and is actually stated as such by the Highest Court we have.

Also It’s NOT a HBO bundle, its NOT about HBO at all instead its about an organisation that is bordering on anti competitive behaviour called Foxtel (one of two Subscription TV only suppliers in Australia).

It seems you don’t read the articles you comment on under the pseudonym of peopleagainstheft and instead cherry pick the articles you actually will comment on as that handle based on trying to push the fiction of trying to classify infringement as theft.

tracyanne (profile) says:

Simple Answer

No!

I am an Australian, in Australia. My choices are pay that ridiculous rate, download it from a site that abuses copyright, or don’t watch it.

One thing is guaranteed, I won’t pay that ridiculous rate.

Actually I have another choice. Borrow a copy of seasons 1 through 3 on DVD from a friend, then wait for season 4 to come out on DVD and do the same thing.

El says:

In Belgium (where I am currently living), most of people have basically no choice if they want to watch and follow this show.

There are no packages offered on the belgian TV cable allowing you to watch this show in real time (e.g. in English, with subtitles). Usually, you have to wait several months to finally be able to watch the (current) new season in French. As a result, people choose an alternative and illegal route in order to catch up with the show (they just don?t want to wait that long) .

I really think that most of people here would be willing to pay for this show.
However, 50 USD per episode is still very expensive (if you only want to watch Game of Thrones). I think that something like between 5 and 10 USD per episode would be a fair price (it would be like going to see a movie at the movie theater for example).

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