Australia again leads world in Game of Thrones pirating


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


    • Hah! I’ve read the books, but haven’t seen any of the show yet.

      … I’m still catching up on some shows that aired nearly a decade ago. Why, no, I don’t watch much TV, how did you guess? :-D

  1. Theres a great article over on Giz about how hard it was to connect to Foxtel Go to watch GoT. The person specifically tried to connect for GoT, and GoT alone, and it was just fail after fail after fail both last year and this. When he WAS able to connect, the experience was also a fail. End result, someone who feels justified in downloading it.

    There are reasons people in Australia pirate the show, with convenience being high on the list, closely followed by cost and quality.

  2. I actually signed up to the Foxtel platinum HD service just for GoT.

    Because of the GoT airing time, it’s not possible for me to watch the live HD version. So instead, I had to use Foxtel GO.

    Last year the quality was horrible on Foxtel Play, I tried Foxtel GO this year and there is ZERO difference. Even with the HD package. Watching GoT in horrendous ‘SD’ quality and just ended up ruining the experience for me.

    So unless I purchase the iQ3 for an extra $200 on top of all the other fees so I can access the “Start Over” function on the Foxtel device, I have no other option but to watch it in bad quality on what I would highly expect to be a premium service.

    • Or you could just, I don’t know, record it? Or watch the Primetime repeat at 7:30pm. Or one of the many many other repeats?

        • Well at its core the iQ2 is a very good DVR with series linking abilities. In my opinion that’s the best way to use Foxtel. Record everything you watch and view it at a time that suits you. The only content I watch linearly is live sport, events and when I’m channel flicking.

  3. I have legal access via HBO Go* and yet I still download it as HBO Go streaming doesnt like my crap ADSL2 connection and buffers like crazy.

    *via a DirecTV sub from the USA I share with a mate. (Turnbull said dodging geo-blocking was legal)

  4. The whole SD quality is a bit of a farce (esp since said service offers other content at HD) considering its still only available at a premium price.

    “*$30 per month based on one Genre pick plus the Premium Movies & Drama pick. This price only applies for the first three months if you subscribe to one Genre pick plus the Premium Movies & Drama pick between 23 March 2015 and 30 April 2015. At the end of the first three months, the ongoing subscription fee for one Genre pick plus the Premium Movies & Drama pick will be charged at $45 per month.”

    woo hoo 3 months discounted pricing!! then it reverts back to an expensive $45 for remainder of said contract. Yup wonder why people aren’t signing up in droves!

  5. From playing with legally available streaming services (Netflix, Stan, Presto & Foxtel Go) I can say Foxtel has a very very long way to go.

    I can use Foxtel Go and do watch the odd TV show on it. It is nowhere near the quality of Netflix – the Netflix app (iPad user) pretty much has zero issues (no buffering, responsive client). Foxtel Go crashes on the odd occasion and buffer. There is a massive market there if Foxtel (1) fixes the app & (2) provides access to the app similar to Netflix (monthly subscription model you can turn on/off as required).

  6. I try to always buy my content through legit channels. It’s so frustrating having to buy US iTunes cards to simply watch the latest season of a TV show – hello Brooklyn 99.

    I can understand why people couldn’t be bothered to go through the “official” channels. It may not be “right”, but your self-imposed content restrictions are the cause.

  7. The just released HBO Now on XBox 1 has 1 month free access at the moment. You need to get around their geoblocking though.

  8. WOOHOO, Fuck you Rupert. None of my money will ever go into your pockets.

    Be proud Australians be very proud.

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