In a bid to thwart illegal downloading of it’s television shows, FOXTEL movie Channel SHOWTIME last night, fast-tracked the first episode in series three of the popular ‘Game Of Thrones’ just a mere two hours after it was aired in the US.
Despite their best effort, there seems to be a lot of Aussies who couldn’t wait that long with pirating website Torrent Freak claiming that this first episode of season three was downloaded illegally more than 1 million times worldwide, with Australians grabbing the highest download rate per capita with 9.9% of downloads heading our way, largely in-part to residents in Melbourne and Sydney.
The season three opener rated extremely well for SHOWTIME, with 224,000 people tuning in to watch (It’s highest ratings to-date). FOXTEL’s Executive Director of Television Brian Walsh stated “Last night’s brilliant result for Game of Thrones is a true testament to Foxtel’s commitment to bringing our audience award-winning high quality drama they can watch with the rest of the world.”
But what about those who do not have access to payTV services? Music and video software iTunes made the this first episode available to Australians to purchase by 2am this morning, and since the show’s full-season pass (which was available to customers on March 15th) it has been in the number 1 spot on the iTunes TV charts, one would think that there is quite a demand for the legal downloading of television shows.
This demand, however, could only be warranted if the airing of a television show in the US was simultaneous with a release online here in Australia. This is largely due to the boom of social network sites like Facebook and Twitter. Says editor of popular enterainment website IGN.com Lucy O’Brien who spoke with News.com.au, “There are few shows that hold so much appeal to both a niche nerdom and a much broader audience – we’re talking brilliantly-written high fantasy here peppered with sex and violence – and these fans want to join in on the conversation as soon as it starts; with their friends, with other fans, on forums, in comment sections and on social media.”
“A delay, even a 48-hour one, prevents Australians from doing that. And that’s a problem.”
A prime example of this is the massive teen drama Pretty Little Liars starring Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson and Laura Leighton. The show airs on a Tuesday night on the ABC Family network in the US and is screened on FOX8 here in Australia (Season 3 finished in the US 2 weeks ago [24 episodes], FOX8 has recently aired episode 12). That said, fans of the show here in Australia would have been hard-damned to not come across any finale spoilers on Twitter as during the season three cliffhanger finale, Pretty Little Liars became the first ever show to amass more than 1 million live tweets.
While pirating may be rife, Game of Thrones’ director Michael Lombardo doesn’t seem too fazed about the illegal downloading of his show. Last month he admitted that piracy compliments sales rather than hurting them. Co-director David Petrarca stated at a WA university last month that the show thrives on “cultural buzz” via social media. “That’s how they survive,” he said.