Why paying $10 an episode for Game of Thrones doesn’t make sense

Angus Kidman 16 May 2016

GameOfThrones

Logic is taking a serious beating.

Tasmanian John Hyslop made the news over the weekend when he said he would be willing to pay HBO $10 per episode to watch Game of Thrones.

Hyslop told the ABC that Australia has a "serious distribution problem". What he actually means is that he doesn't want to pay for a Foxtel subscription purely to watch one show.

It's not an uncommon complaint, and Hyslop's apparent willingness to cough up some money for the producers rather than simply download a torrent of each episode is praiseworthy, I suppose.

But his argument falls down on basic maths.

There will be 10 episodes in Season 6 of Game of Thrones, which means Hyslop would be paying $100 for the series.

Foxtel shows the episodes at the same time as in the US, and you can watch either via its pay TV service or through its Foxtel Play streaming service.

Foxtel costs $26 a month, with an additional $20 a month for the Drama pack which includes Game of Thrones. So that would add up to $138. That's a higher figure than $100, but it would also include access to dozens of other channels, and wouldn't eat into your monthly downloads.

Foxtel Play over the three months has a similar minimum cost of $45 per month ($25 for a single genre pick channel plus $20 for Premium Movies & Drama, which is where Game of Thrones is housed).

And prior to the launch of Season 6, Foxtel Play also had an offer where the Premium Movies & Drama pack was $5 a month rather than $20 during the three months Game of Thrones. So the total cost for those three months could be $90 -- less than Hyslop says he's already willing to pay.

Some viewers argue that the Foxtel Play app is fiddly and unreliable, and doesn't offer HD. (Similar criticisms can be heard around HBO Now, which is the equivalent service in the US.) Other people simply don't like the idea of giving Foxtel money. But the nasty commercial reality is that HBO has happily taken Foxtel's money, and the show can't be made for free.

I don't doubt that many people will continue to conclude that they don't like the options currently available and hence will choose to download pirate copies of each episode, or make strange and irrational proposals like Hyslop's. But we shouldn't confuse that noise with universal dissatisfaction.

A total of 1.2 million people watched the first episode of Season 6 via Foxtel, which is the highest rating for any show ever on pay TV in Australia. With numbers like those, I can't see HBO deciding it needs an alternative distributor down under right now.

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.

More great ideas from finder.com.au

Get a life insurance quote
Get a life insurance quote

Find out what it costs to protect yourself and your family

More info...
Refinancing home loans
Refinancing home loans

Choose from offers with rates as low as 3.39% p.a.

More info...
Google Pixel
Google Pixel

Compare plans for Google's flagship Android phone

More info...
Christmas ideas
Christmas ideas

Visit our Christmas homepage for gift ideas, markets, travel & deals

More info...

Ask a Question

You are about to post a question on finder.com.au

  • Do not enter personal information (eg. surname, phone number, bank details) as your question will be made public
  • finder.com.au is a financial comparison and information service, not a bank or product provider
  • We cannot provide you with personal advice or recommendations
  • Your answer might already be waiting – check previous questions below to see if yours has already been asked

Disclaimer: At finder.com.au we provide factual information and general advice. Before you make any decision about a product read the Product Disclosure Statement and consider your own circumstances to decide whether it is appropriate for you.
Rates and fees mentioned in comments are correct at the time of publication.
By submitting this question you agree to the finder.com.au privacy policy, receive follow up emails related to finder.com.au and to create a user account where further replies to your questions will be sent.

Ask a question
feedback