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
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 14 Apr 2014 @ 5:51am

    "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.

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