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.

Filed Under: cord cutting, game of thrones, hbo, piracy, price


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  1. icon
    G Thompson (profile), 15 Apr 2014 @ 9:58am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 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)

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