The three shows Australians watch on pay TV

Angus Kidman 6 February 2017 NEWS

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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:

Rank Show Total viewers
1 Live: AFL PF#1 GWS v Bulldogs 543,000
2 Live: NRL Storm v Sharks 499,000
3 Live: AFL PF#2 Geelong v Sydney 468,000
4 Live: AFL EF#2 West Coast v Bulldogs 450,000
5 Live: AFL QF#2 Geelong v Hawthorn 448,000
6 Live: AFL SF#2 Hawthorn v Bulldogs 445,000
7 Live: AFL QF#1 Sydney v GWS 440,000
8 Game Of Thrones 437,000
9 Live: AFL SF#1 Sydney v Adelaide 413,000
10 Game Of Thrones 400,000
11 Live: NRL PF#1 Storm v Raiders 400,000
12 Live: AFL Nth Melb v Hawthorn 399,000
13 Game Of Thrones 396,000
14 Game Of Thrones 385,000
15 Live: AFL EF#1 Adelaide v Nth Melb 381,000
16 Live: NRL Cowboys v Sharks 372,000
17 Live: NRL QF#2 Raiders v Sharks 369,000
18 Live: NRL Super Saturday 368,000
19 Game Of Thrones 362,000
20 Live: NRL Storm v Cowboys 361,000

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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