Game of Thrones rules, legally and illegally

17 April, 2014 by Don Groves

The most popular film or TV title bought online in Australia last year was also the most widely pirated: season three of Game of Thrones.

Data released today shows a strong correlation between TV shows downloaded legally and viewed illegally through file sharing in 2013.


That’s not surprising according to Simon Bush, CEO of the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association. “Game of Thrones is incredibly popular,“ Bush told IF. “The shows with the highest file-sharing tend to do well commercially.”

According to TorrentFreak, the final episode of season three file was ripped more than 1 million times in Australia within 24 hours of the broadcast and shared by up to 170,000 people simultaneously—a record. This year Foxtel stepped up its efforts to combat piracy by airing Game of Thrones two hours after the US.

“What the data shows is that there is a strong legitimate market for quality television and film productions and people are willing to pay for it,” Bush said. “Unfortunately people are also too willing to pirate these same shows but it is pleasing that many Australians are doing the right thing and purchasing the content.

“We need to continue to convert more people to the many legitimate channels that now exist in the Australian market and we look forward to support from the Abbott Government in reigning in the globally high levels of film piracy in this country.”

Last year digital film and TV consumer revenues grew by 22.4% to $143.6 million. The split between electronic sell-through (EST or download to own) and Video-on-Demand was almost equal. EST accounted for $71.2 million in revenue whilst VoD racked up $72.5 million from 23.8 million units.

That compares with $801.3 million in revenues from physical sales and rentals, down 7% on 2012.  The breakdown was $661.8 million for DVDs (off by 7%) and $139.5 million for Blu-ray (minus 4%).  

The most popular Australian film online was The Sapphires, which ranked at No. 13. The top EST title was Argo. Perhaps  surprisingly Despicable Me was No. 3,  indicating many people "discovered" the animated comedy after they had seen the sequel.

The average EST price was $8.86 and for VoD it was $5.31. The average EST price for feature films in 2013 dropped to $17.07 (down from $17.47 in 2012) whilst VoD films averaged $5.36. The average price across the two was $6.85 for films.

The price drop for EST films probably reflects cheaper catalogue product taking a greater share of that business.

Australian Top 10 EST for 2013

1. Game of Thrones S3
2. Game of Thrones S2
3. Game of Thrones S1
4. Breaking Bad – The Final Season
5. The Walking Dead S3
6. House of Cards S1
7. True Blood S6
8. Modern Family S4
9. Girls S2
10. Revenge S2

Australian Top 10 VoD 2013

1. Pitch Perfect
2. World War Z
3. Jack Reacher
4. Olympus Has Fallen
5. Silver Linings Playbook
6. Iron Man 3
7. Identity Thief
8. Looper
9. Flight
10. Django Unchained

Australian Top 10 EST Films 2013

1. Argo
2. Man of Steel
3. Despicable Me
4. Pitch Perfect
5. Despicable Me 2
6. The Hobbit: The Unexpected Journey
7. Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted
8. World War Z
9. Wreck-It Ralph
10. Hotel Transylvania

Source: AHEDA