Foxtel Has Only Itself To Blame For Internet Piracy Of Game Of Thrones

This week’s episode of Game of Thrones was not only the most watched episode in the history of the series, but it was also the most “illegally” downloaded episode of all time as well. Conservative estimates suggest that the episode was downloaded around 1.5 million times in the 12 hours after it first aired. Over the course of the week, figures suggest that roughly 500,000 Australians will have downloaded the episode of the hit HBO series. Pay-TV network Foxtel has bleated black and blue about this, and is currently in the process of pressuring governments to bring in new legislation that forces Internet Service Providers to crack down on customer activity. But consumer group Choice has come out and attacked Foxtel, saying that they’ve only got themselves to blame.

Speaking on the ABC‘s 7:30 Report, Choice representative Erin Turner stated that Foxtel simply “has an outdated business model.

It expects people to pay for a whole range of products when they may want [just] one. You’re getting Real Housewives of every city, rather than just Game of Thrones, which you want. It also locks people into viewing content on particular devices. They’re developing this. Ultimately the problem is there are few competitors to Foxtel in Australia.

There are few choices. If you want to watch Game of Thrones for example, Foxtel is the only place to go.
Foxtel themselves fired back at the accusations, with company rep Bruce Meagher firing back, “I can’t think of any other circumstance where you would say ‘I think you charge too much for this product therefore it is legitimate to steal it’.”
There’s a moral disconnect there which I just don’t get.
His remonstrations aren’t fundamentally untrue. There are no other circumstances like this because most, if not all, other retail and consumer product based industries are open to listening to customer demands. There are no other industries so stubbornly opposed to change.
Choice as a consumer group does not endorse the illegal downloading of shows, it should be noted. Rather it recommends the usage of VPNs to circumvent geo-blocking, allowing you to actually pay for the things you like, including services such as Netflix or Hulu Plus.
It’s an argument that may sound like a broken record at this point, but people do have the money to pay for the thing. They would very much like to be giving people the money to pay for the thing. But when they’re presented with a situation in which the thing cannot be accessed without also paying for 300 other things they do not want, then the consumer is backed into a corner.
Foxtel desperately needs to realise that the problem is not with the consumer’s sense of entitlement, it’s with their own.
Photo: Vyacheslav Oseledko via Getty Images.