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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. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 14 Apr 2014 @ 7:55am

    You know one way HBO could solve this?

    With an a lá 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.

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