Consumer Group Choice Says It’s Foxtel’s Fault Why Australians Illegally Download ‘Game of Thrones’

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By Anne Lu | June 18, 2014 4:33 PM EST

It’s Foxtel’s fault that Australians illegally download “Game of Thrones” episodes, according to consumer group Choice.

REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files
Cast member Peter Dinklage arrives for the season four premiere of the HBO series "Game of Thrones" in New York in this March 18, 2014, file photo. The blood-filled finale of the fourth season of HBO's fantasy series "Game of Thrones" was watched by 7.1 million viewers, the network said on Monday, topping the 5.4 million people who watched last season's closing episode. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files

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The finale episode of the HBO show’s fourth season was downloaded around 1.5 million times after it aired on Monday, according to TorrentFreak, and Australians were among the most fervent pirates of the show.

When the season premiered in April, Aussies were also revealed to be the number one pirates of the show, with 11.6 per cent of over 300,000 BitTorrent users coming from Down Under.

Foxtel, the exclusive provider of the show in the country, wasn’t pleased that Aussies turned to illegal downloading instead of subscribing to it.

However, industry watchdog Choice said that Foxtel has no one to blame but itself.

Spokesperson Erin Turner said Foxtel’s “outdated business model” had forced viewers to pirate the show.

“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 Thronse, which you want,” she told 7:30 news.

“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 offers “Game of Thrones” along with other products in its $35 per month package. Unlike other paid subscription services like iTunes and Play, though, the content on Foxtel expires, which means subscribers won’t be able to keep the episodes.

In April, Foxtel head of corporate affairs Bruce Meagher wrote an open letter on Mumbrella, chiding illegal downloaders for not subscribing to them for their GoT fix.

The company wants the Federal Government to introduce laws that crack down piracy in the country, such as forcing Internet companies to block illegal download methods.

And it appears that Attorney General George Brandis already supports Foxtel. Brandis has previously called Australia as “the worst offender of any country in the world when it comes to piracy.”

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(Photo: REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files / )
Cast member Peter Dinklage arrives for the season four premiere of the HBO series "Game of Thrones" in New York in this March 18, 2014, file photo. The blood-filled finale of the fourth season of HBO's fantasy series "Game of Thrones" was watched by 7.1 million viewers, the network said on Monday, topping the 5.4 million people who watched last season's closing episode. REUTERS/Lucas Jackson/Files
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