news Australia has once again topped the list of countries breaching copyright by downloading HBO’s Game of Thrones television show from BitTorrent sites, despite efforts by the show’s local licensee Foxtel to cash in on the popular series.
Season 6 of Game of Thrones was broadcast by HBO several days ago and made available by the show’s exclusive local licensor Foxtel shortly after. The show is based upon the hit George R. R. Martin fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire.
However, statistics compiled by Torrentfreak have appeared to show that many Australians have instead preferred to download the show online rather than paying Foxtel to access it.
The site (we recommend you click here for the full article on this topic) gathered data over half a day after the first episode in the new season of Game of Thrones aired. At the time, more than 200,000 people were actively sharing the show online.
Torrentfreak reported: “A brief inspection of the download locations of the most popular torrent shows that Game of Thrones pirates come from all over the world, as we’ve seen previously. The show is particularly popular in Australia (12.5%), India (9.7%), United States (8.5%) and the United Kingdom (6.9%).”
The download numbers were not as high as for the final episode of Game of Thrones last year, but were still extremely significant compared with piracy of other television shows.
Torrentfreak also noted that a significant number of people were downloading Game of Thrones in high definition (720p and 1080p) video, rather than in lower resolutions.
The news will not come as a surprise: Torrentfreak’s analysis regularly shows that Australians lead the way globally in pirating Game of Thrones and other TV shows.
The news comes as Foxtel has taken steps in Australia to try to lure Australians away from Internet piracy sites.
Several weeks ago the pay TV giant — which holds a stranglehold upon Game of Thrones distribution in Australia — offered a discounted subscription to its Premium plan for the broadcast of the show.
At the time, Foxtel said Game of Thrones had seen unprecedented popularity on its service, with Season 5 achieving nearly 900,000 viewers on average – up 57% on Season 4.
However, Foxtel’s online platform for distributing Game of Thrones has also come in for substantial criticism over time.
For example, today Kotaku editor Mark Serrels wrote that he had attempted to use Foxtel’s Play service to watch Game of Thrones. He wrote (we recommend you click here for the full article):
“Foxtel Play turned out to be a complete disaster. Last year I wrote an article detailing the many ways in which Foxtel made it extremely difficult for me to pay them money to watch Game Of Thrones. You can read the whole story here. Here’s the TL;DR version: I had such an incredibly difficult time trying to get Foxtel Play to work that after three hours of failure and abysmal customer service I gave up and downloaded a torrent.”
The news also comes as the television and film industry are currently attempting to use the Federal Government’s new site-blocking laws in court to block sites which distribute content such as Game of Thrones.
Well this is hardly a big whopping surprise … given how difficult HBO (and Foxtel) have made it to access this kind of content in an affordable and accessible manner.
Image credit: HBO