The three shows Australians watch on pay TV

Angus Kidman 6 February 2017

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And yes, Game Of Thrones is obviously one of them.

The big news over the weekend was Foxtel being annoyed that many Australians decided to undermine its pay-per-view broadcast of the Anthony Mundine/Danny Green boxing match by streaming it live through Facebook. That serves as a reminder that the main reason most people sign up for pay TV is for access to sport.

That's confirmed by the just-released list of the most popular shows on pay TV during 2017. Here's the full list from Oztam:

RankShowTotal viewers
1Live: AFL PF#1 GWS v Bulldogs543,000
2Live: NRL Storm v Sharks499,000
3Live: AFL PF#2 Geelong v Sydney468,000
4Live: AFL EF#2 West Coast v Bulldogs450,000
5Live: AFL QF#2 Geelong v Hawthorn448,000
6Live: AFL SF#2 Hawthorn v Bulldogs445,000
7Live: AFL QF#1 Sydney v GWS440,000
8Game Of Thrones437,000
9Live: AFL SF#1 Sydney v Adelaide413,000
10Game Of Thrones400,000
11Live: NRL PF#1 Storm v Raiders400,000
12Live: AFL Nth Melb v Hawthorn399,000
13Game Of Thrones396,000
14Game Of Thrones385,000
15Live: AFL EF#1 Adelaide v Nth Melb381,000
16Live: NRL Cowboys v Sharks372,000
17Live: NRL QF#2 Raiders v Sharks369,000
18Live: NRL Super Saturday368,000
19Game Of Thrones362,000
20Live: NRL Storm v Cowboys361,000

A few things to note from this data. Essentially, this boils down to three shows: live AFL broadcasts, live NRL broadcasts, and Game Of Thrones. No wonder Foxtel has been so keen to keep HBO (which makes Game Of Thrones) on side, locking in an exclusive deal with the broadcaster.

Secondly, while we like to whinge constantly about the cost of Foxtel, none of these shows are part of the cheapest deal it offers. To watch any of them, you'll need to be signed up for both the sports bundle and the entertainment package. Clearly, there are enough sports fans and Lannister tragics to keep the business churning over.

Also, while these are healthy numbers, they're still dwarfed by free-to-air TV. For instance, the lowest-rated episode of The Block in 2016 still scored more viewers than anything in this top 20.

Finally, it's worth noting that almost all of these are live broadcasts. When it comes to drama, we're more likely to use Netflix than Foxtel, but major footy matches are still appointment viewing.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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