Digital Media

Foxtel Now crashes during 'Games of Thrones' premiere

The only legal way to watch GoT in Australia crashed during the first episode, but Foxtel says it pulled the highest ratings ever.

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That feeling when Foxtel crashes during "Game of Thrones."

HBO

If there's one thing worse than "Game of Thrones" spoilers, it's not being able to watch the show at all.

Foxtel says it's "devastated" after its IPTV service Foxtel Now crashed last night, just as desperate Australians all across the country were trying to stream "Game of Thrones."

Though the episode first went to air at 11:30 a.m. AEST yesterday, Foxtel rebroadcast the opening episode of the seventh season at 8:30 p.m. -- and that's when the problems hit, with viewers complaining that the service had crashed.

"Due to unprecedented demand, we are experiencing problems with our online services this evening," Foxtel said in a statement on Facebook at 9 p.m. AEST. "Obviously this comes at a time when so many of our customers are wanting to watch the first episode of season 7 of Game of Thrones.

"We can assure you that we are doing everything we can to resolve these problems. We can also assure customers that as soon as the issue is resolved they will be able to watch the episode using the On Demand features of our service."

While Foxtel was busy apologising for the "frustration" it had caused customers, GoT fans were venting their fury like an army of Unsullied on social media.

"So, currently, it is impossible to watch this show legally in Australia? And we wonder why Aus has the highest rate of illegal downloads?? #winterisbuffering," said Facebook user Jess Harper.

Many questioned why Foxtel hadn't anticipated the demand (Foxtel Now is currently the only way to watch "Game of Thrones" Season 7 legally in Australia).

But today, Foxtel was quick to say that the premiere had "caused technical glitches around the world, with online sites crashing in the United States, Latin America and Australia."

HBO, home of "Game of Thrones," also crashed yesterday during the US East Coast premiere time slot, according to The Hollywood Reporter

The new episode of the cult show was the first big test for Foxtel Now, which was recently revamped with a new user interface, name and logo. Foxtel had even called out the show as a hook for new subscribers, who could sign up and get all the new episodes of "Game of Thrones" Season 7, day and date with the US.

Despite the issues last night, Foxtel today said the first episode pulled an "all-time record" audience of 820,000 viewers and the "highest ratings ever" for a series in Australian subscription TV history.

But these stats will be little comfort for fans who missed out. Australia has been the biggest nation of "Game of Thrones" pirates in the past, and yesterday's crash left many people considering downloading it, even if just out of spite.

As one Facebook user wrote, "The night is dark and full of torrents."

Foxtel declined a request for comment.

First published July 18, 9:11 a.m. AEST.

Update, 1:50 p.m.: Adds new details about HBO outage and Foxtel day one viewership.

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