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Beating the torrent with express delivery of Game of Thrones, Mad Men

The fight against internet piracy has been moved up a gear with Foxtel announcing it is to "fast-track" dozens of new programs to air, some within hours of their US screenings.

More than 40 programs - including some of the most-downloaded - have been named in the Foxtel express strategy designed to counter any incentive to break the law.

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“Our strategy is simple, deliver the best TV to our audiences as it becomes available," said Foxtel executive director of television, Brian Walsh.

"Closing the window between US or UK premiere dates and the program launch here in Australia is our priority."

Other programs to be fast tracked include Games Of Thrones (going to air two hours after America), Veep (also delayed by just two hours from America), Mad Men (four hours delay) and True Blood (airing same day and date as US).

Other programming will have different lag, some a few days and others such as The Ultimate Fighter 17, airing just 30 minutes after its US screening.


This latest round of fast-tracking comes after a previous announcement by the Pay TV broadcaster that it would be speeding shows to air.

Last September Foxtel confirmed it would express shows including Sons Of Anarchy to air, with the free-to-air networks - most notably Ten - following suit.

The ABC had already been speeding imported shows to air, using its iView platform to air programs to local audiences shortly after their overseas airdates.

In the case of Doctor Who, the episodes were aired online - legally - by the ABC a week before their television screenings.

Brian Walsh said he hoped by moving programs closer to their overseas airdates people would lose any incentive to break the law.

“This strategy has so far been very successful, for example this season of The Walking Dead, which is broadcast express from the US only 33 hours after US transmission, has delivered larger audiences to Foxtel (as) more people source the program legally," he said.

Coincidentally, the announcement comes just days after Game Of Thrones creator George R R Martin said he understood why fans of the series based on his books resorted to illegal downloads if the networks insisted on delaying broadcast.

"[Game of Thrones] is the most pirated show in the world, a lot of it coming from Australia," Martin told reporters at a screening of the series' much-anticipated third season (airing in Australia on April 1).

"They delay it six months there, and the people won't wait so they download it."

It has been estimated (by US torrent tracking site TorrentFreak) 400,000 Australians downloaded illegal episodes of Game Of Thrones last season.


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