Sorry iTunes. Foxtel stitches up Game of Thrones exclusive.

By David Knox on February 2, 2014 / Filed Under Pay TV, Top Stories 35

2014-02-02_0112If you were happily -legally- buying Game of Thrones episodes on iTunes Australia last year, the day after they aired on Pay TV, then you may want to sit down.

Those days are over.

In 2014 Foxtel will be the only place you can see the acclaimed drama in Australia*, as part of the Subscription TV provider’s deal with HBO.

“Series 4 of Game of Thrones will be exclusive to Foxtel. It won’t be available on iTunes. And that hasn’t been the case for the last few series,” Foxtel’s Director of Television Brian Walsh told TV Tonight.

“It’s a big coup for us and we have a lot of ideas around the marketing of Thrones. Globally it’s a television sensation.

“I think having it exclusively in Australia on the Foxtel platform is indicative of the way we’re approaching a lot of our acquired content now. Our absolute desire is to increase our Subscriber numbers and exclusively acquiring Game of Thrones is important.”

Season Four will air Express from the US on Showcase on April 7th.

*prior to Australian DVD release.

35 Comments »

  1. David Knox February 15, 2014 at 3:00 pm -

    My understanding is Foxtel is the exclusive home of HBO in Australia. It appears to have extended to non-broadcast for a period of time too. Yet it is taking forever to bring us Behind the Candelabra.

  2. mrrosskent February 15, 2014 at 2:39 pm -

    david, do you know if Foxtel have done the same to Girls & Looking as they aren’t available either :( I find Foxtel incredibly frustrating especially as Foxtel Go doesn’t provide the nicest viewing quality 90% of the time.

  3. Aurora February 4, 2014 at 11:14 pm -

    Good on them. It makes sense.

  4. bill February 4, 2014 at 10:09 am -

    Can you watch it on iTunes in the States, or do you need to have HBO?

  5. mr darcy February 4, 2014 at 12:02 am -

    Again. When I had Foxtel it wasn’t worth the money for the product I was receiving. Endless repeats and endless ads and repeats of those endless repeats and ads again. So if Australians wish to see GOT they subscribe to Foxtel or wait…Hard choice.

  6. Sydney2K February 3, 2014 at 7:37 pm -

    Interesting article in the SMH blames not Foxtel, but HBO. Because people are leaving cable subscriptions for online streaming, HBO is giving overseas pay broadcasters exclusivity contracts, making up for the loss of revenue from cable.

  7. Craig February 3, 2014 at 4:40 pm -

    They do realise the few people who were happy to pay for it on iTunes because they didn’t want Foxtel will just go and get it else where now.

    Really was the iTunes deal having that big of an impact on the Foxtel ratings?

    @MichaelQ – I’m glade it’s not on FTA, they would screw it up, it would be on late night and full of ads ever 5 minutes. So glade I have Foxtel for this one.

  8. jmanwf February 3, 2014 at 4:12 pm -

    A Season pass for game of thrones in the USA Itunes store is $38.99. us dollars

  9. melmac February 3, 2014 at 1:58 pm -

    I would love to know what the Itunes download numbers where for last season

  10. MichaelQ February 3, 2014 at 10:29 am -

    Where is the Anti-Siphoning list for regular non-sports TV?

  11. FKlein February 3, 2014 at 9:17 am -

    @A. Yes you are right if you pay a ridiculous amount of money for a TV show you should at least be able to keep it forever. Yes I know you can record on Foxtel, but what ever you do record is only available to watch on the TV that the IQ box is hooked up to.

  12. dyson February 3, 2014 at 8:35 am -

    It will be on iTunes eventually. The question is how long is the Foxtel exclusive window? 12 months?

  13. A. February 3, 2014 at 12:35 am -

    Well that’s sure to encourage people to get Foxtel. Especially those that like watching content on the computer. Oh wait, I was being silly and slightly sarcastic. I’m sure those that get it by other means are sure to feel better about it since they are given no other real choice but to do so in all probability. Maybe those numbers will grow now.

    Meanwhile I’ll just wait for the DVDs. If you pay for TV content shouldn’t you at least get to keep it.

  14. David Knox February 2, 2014 at 9:02 pm -

    GoT has always been in HD as far as I recall. Definitely the last few years.

  15. Kev February 2, 2014 at 8:49 pm -

    Any word on whether Foxtel will be screening it in HD as part of their “exclusive” deal? If not, then goodbye Foxtel.

  16. deedeedragons February 2, 2014 at 8:19 pm -

    Wasn’t there that article last year that Aussies were the biggest illegal watchers of GOT? Didn’t the U.S Ambassador make a comment or something?

    LOL. those numbers will now explode.

  17. Josh777 February 2, 2014 at 8:04 pm -

    @ Pertinax – if Foxtel charged $25/month for showcase as a stand-alone channel then that really makes Foxtel Movies look worthless (giving critics some evidence of it’s lacking worth compared to its predecessors Movie Network & Showtime). In terms of U.S. providers, from what I can see the RRP of the platinum package is $130+ – about the same as Foxtel’s platinum package but lacking all the quantity and quality.

  18. Leo February 2, 2014 at 7:44 pm -

    I’m not a fan of the show – haven’t even watched it but I think this is a bit rough.
    It’s shown on Showcase which costs more (it’s part of the movie package but it’s a tv show??!!??) – it should be on Fox8 or Arena at least!
    I never watch movies on Foxtel, if I wanted to I would subscribe, why put a tv show on a channel which is part of the movie package!

  19. jmanwf February 2, 2014 at 5:53 pm -

    Just to confirm folks i have a USA Itunes account and i can confirm it is on their it is pretty simple to set up a USA Itunes account

  20. mistaken February 2, 2014 at 5:45 pm -

    And illegal downloading increases ten fold.

  21. Benjimon February 2, 2014 at 4:49 pm -

    This will only make people angry at Foxtel, nothing more.

  22. jesicka309 February 2, 2014 at 4:27 pm -

    Well, seeing as that was the only way I could legally watch Game of Thrones…well, that is a shame.

    Between Foxtel hoarding episodes at a rate of $70 a month minimum, and HBO holding out on the DVDs until nearly a year post release…well, not many options left, are there?

  23. Pertinax February 2, 2014 at 4:08 pm -

    Game of Thrones isn’t available on iTunes in the US (which does probably contribute to it being the most downloaded show).

    @Josh777
    If Showcase was a standalone channel it would cost $74/month. You have to pay the cost of the network and admin costs and profits as well as for content you want to watch.

    In the US you have to buy basic cable ($38/month) plus HBO, Showtime, FX AMC, Bravo, Starz and Cinemax (upto $20/month each) to get all the cable dramas and comedies on Showcase, FX and Soho and FTA.

    Unless Netflix or Hulu decided to invest a lot in compete for the long-term and undermine all the exclusive contracts that exists in this country, there will be no real competition and lower prices for consumers.

  24. Sam G February 2, 2014 at 2:46 pm -

    HBO dont care that less people have access to the show this way. The whole idea of premium cable in the US is that they make more money by charging higher prices to fewer viewers and this is just an international continuation of that. Obviously HBO are making more money by letting Foxtel have exclusive rights as opposed to how it was previously. The losers are ultimately the viewers.

    Foxtels monopoly is becoming more of a problem of late, as we have be have seen recently with their other exclusive rights deal on all BBC content. In the end people are gonna choose with their wallets, which is difficult when there’s no legal competition…

  25. Williamo February 2, 2014 at 1:48 pm -

    Oh well.
    I watched the first season via iTunes, now reading the books (up to the second).
    I wish they fast-tracked the show on both formats so it’d fair to the ones who wants to watch only the show, meaning having to pay around 12 dollars a month from the season pass instead of 100 dollars (or higher, depending on package) for GOT and other shows.
    Maybe this year, the ratings will decrease because of increased piracy caused by iTunes shoppers, then they’ll stick back to iTunes or lower the price.

  26. Wharto February 2, 2014 at 1:40 pm -

    The losers here will be the producers of this program. Where they would have got some iTunes revenue they will now most likely miss out on just about all of that….
    In a similar vein – how long before the major sports realise that they can produce their own coverages and sell via IPTV direct to consumers? They’ll make much more than via pay tv gives them and consumers will get exactly what they want for much less – without having to pay for useless “packages” filled with advertisements…
    In technological terms Foxtel is a duck with a big head in the middle of duck season.

  27. Gonzo February 2, 2014 at 12:55 pm -

    @unclepete, thanks for the lesson of free market economics. Now I’m no big Foxtel fan, but wrapping up Game of Thrones exclusively in Aus is free market economics at work. iTunes, also being a monopoly in a sense (well Australian’s treat it that way) has allowed it’s arrogance to also dictate how they do business. No one was competing against Foxtel when the tied up HBO for X many years. ITUNES doesn’t care and doesn’t pay the rights hold one dollar in an advance making Foxtel’s negotiation a hell of a lot easier.

    Problem in this country is there’s no alternative to ITUNES as the competition is so inept (and Telstra will never launch a genuine VOD service as it risks their 50% investment in the golden goose Foxtel) and Foxtel has a paytv monopoly (which would have happened under labor or liberal government)…

    I guess my point is, blame the right people and the argument of…

  28. jmanwf February 2, 2014 at 12:38 pm -

    You can always get an American Itunes account. This is a joke people should have the option of getting it Legally from iTunes Australia no wonder why people get it from other methodes

  29. Josh777 February 2, 2014 at 12:33 pm -

    I agree with everyone else in saying that although as a business strategy it seems good to have exclusive rights to one of the highest publicity series around, but why would people go from paying something like under $10 an episode to $74 a month (so 3 months of episodes means something like $225 total)? This will likely just result in an increase in illegal downloads. If Foxtel were smart and offered showcase as a stand-alone channel like Syfy then this might be a different story. Something seriously needs to happen with Foxtel constantly cutting out competitions content rights and taking channels in-house and closing independents down.

  30. tvjunkie01 February 2, 2014 at 12:14 pm -

    Pretty pathetic by foxtel doing this, pretty much sewing up all the good hbo shows, and the only way of being able to watch them, either a foxtel subscription, wait for the dvd/bluray or by “Other Means”. I reckon the 3rd option here is going to be very popular, as most people are not prepared to pay for an expensive subscription, just so they can watch their fave programs.

  31. fromthedale February 2, 2014 at 12:01 pm -

    If Foxtel allowed their customers to purchase the Movies package by itself on the Foxtel Play platform then I could see them being able to increase their subscriber numbers. If this was done it would be about $75 for the duration of Game of Thrones S4 which would be comparable to buying the box set on blue-ray. You may be able to snag customers who don’t want to wait for the box set.

    However the cheapest you can get it for is $50 per month because you can only buy this as an add on, makes $150 look pretty steep to access 1 program if you weren’t already a foxtel subscriber. I can’t see how the mathematics of this and locking up the content would drive subscriber numbers. It is likely to make those that were buying it in iTunes resort to other methods to obtain it.

  32. TT33 February 2, 2014 at 10:38 am -

    yep agree with unclepete. People without Foxtel will need to decide…will I start a subscription of about $100 a month to watch it on Foxtel, will I wait for the DVD, or will I just get it illegally?

  33. MHA February 2, 2014 at 10:24 am -

    Well said unclepete!

    This little black duck aint going back to source Games of Thrones via Foxtel. I can wait until the blue-ray release, with much more crisp and droupout free HD than the rubbish so-called HD quality Foxtel dishes up.

  34. tomothyd February 2, 2014 at 10:17 am -

    Yep, the other means options will be excessively used. I’m sure people would much rather pay for a season on iTunes for around $70 or what ever it costs there, than pay for Foxtel’s overpriced and unfriendly packages. This is completely encouraging people to download illegally.

  35. unclepete February 2, 2014 at 8:47 am -

    Oh gee, and then they whinge and wonder why people download shows “illegally”.. do you have a rolling eye emote on this site David?

    See Foxtel, here’s how the free market *should* work… people pay the price that they believe is what an item is worth. They do this by having a choice of prices open to them and they choose what they want to pay. You have to adjust your prices or you lose sales.

    Now that you have “dibs” what’s the bet we see a raft of price increases in your fees over the coming months/years, making your service even more unaffordable than it is now? ;)

    With no choice, people will (historically) look for an alternative route. By doing this you are the ones who are actively encouraging piracy.

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