More noticeable than in most other territories which air it, the popularity of hit HBO fantasy-drama Game of Thrones in Australia is not entirely ‘legal’, though local streaming giants Quickflix are looking to alter the trend of online video piracy by combating one of its main triggers in the Oceanic nation.
The service are looking to offer Game of Thrones, along with a spate of other content of the HBO network, through a range of devices on a much faster timescale than current release dates, with the deal with the premium broadcaster meaning that the re-airing of American shows from that source will be a much more efficient process than it was at the same time last year.
The carriage deal with HBO gives them full rights to a range of series, with the content set to become accessible to subscribers via Android and iOS devices, along with a number of desktop, game console, and smart TV platforms.
Time-wise, while local network Foxtel have already improved the America-Australia episode turnover time of almost half a year (now at 2 hours), the lead show in particular will allow Quickflix to join iTunes in making episodes available 24 hours after its Australian premiere, meaning that it is a very respectable rate of just 26 hours between the American version airing and being made available online ‘down under’.
Further agreements in place for the HBO coverage include that Quickflix users will be able to choose between purchasing buying TV shows on an episodic basis, or ‘by season’, with the purchase licence enabling streaming to be registered on ‘up to five devices’.
While cost of episodes is an issue that has not yet been discussed, Quickflix CEO Stephen Langsford stated that they will be offering prices that are ‘competitive’ in comparison to their online delivery rival iTunes (who currently offer ‘season passes’ starting from $28.99). Langsford noted: “We are responding to consumers who are demanding current and recent series TV on their device of choice. Game of Thrones and other recent hit TV series from HBO will be available as a premium service in Quickflix in which customers can stream by episode or the whole season across on their screen of choice.”
Though pirated streaming is still a prevalent issue in Australia for HBO’s leading export (with an estimated 1 million viewers accessing the third-season premiere episode for free by unofficial means), will a new alternative method to watch reduce the issue, or is it price and not time that is the reason behind the numbers?