One of the main reasons why people turn to piracy is the lack of legal alternatives. This is in part why Australia has such high piracy rates for TV-shows, Game of Thrones included.
Last year the popular HBO show broke several piracy records and with roughly 10 percent, a healthy chunk of the downloads came from Down Under. This spring the fourth season of Game of Thrones will debut and there’s a good chance that Australia will be on top of the piracy charts again.
Pay TV company Foxtel has announced the signing of an exclusive deal with HBO, which allows it to completely lock up Game of Thrones. This means that fans of the show will only be able to watch it legally when they purchase a subscription.
Last year, Game of Thrones was available in iTunes a day after its Foxtel premiere. With the upcoming season, however, iTunes and other services won’t have the show at all, much to the disappointment of Game of Thrones fans.
The only option for people without a Foxtel subscription is to pirate the show instead. The popular TV- torrent distribution group EZTV doesn’t understand why Foxtel wants to decrease availability, and is anticipating a healthy visitor boost later this year.
“We are ready to help out those Australians who are unable to afford the expensive subscriptions that are forced upon them by these monopoly based companies,” EZTV’s NovaKing tells TF.
“Even for those who are happy to pay we provide more flexibility and a better viewing experience,” he adds.
The high piracy rates of Game of Thrones made headlines all over the world last year.
In Australia for example, the Ambassador of the United States of America got involved in the discussion, complaining about this “plain theft” by Australians. According to him, the lack of legal options would only be temporary.
“Many companies today are working on how to deliver their products flexibly enough to meet the lifestyle and expectations of online consumers. But while they are working out the kinks, we shouldn’t be doing something that hurts people who work in the entertainment industry,” the Ambassador said.
However, since Foxtel has chosen to decrease instead of increase availability next year, things are not going to change anytime soon. Not in a positive way at least.
Of course, Foxtel and HBO know very well that their deal is going to increase local piracy rates. They prefer more exclusiveness over less piracy, hoping that it will earn them more revenue. Whether breeding pirates is a good strategy in the long run has yet to be seen.
In any case, there is little doubt that millions of people will fire up their BitTorrent clients this spring, instead of watching the show through legal channels.