The Game of Thrones streaming outage that had Foxtel apologising to customers seems to have had little impact on ratings, with the season seven premiere well on its way to becoming the most watched show in Australia’s subscription TV history.
A total of 820,000 viewers tuned in nationally to the premiere episode of Game of Thrones’ latest season on Monday, easily surpassing the 737,000 record figure for the final episode of season six.
Furthermore, the number of Aussies subscribing to Foxtel’s streaming service, Foxtel Now, leapt by 40 per cent in the 48 hours prior to Monday night’s screening of episode one.
The pay TV player expects a record national audience of 1.5 million to watch this episode via an iQ box, Foxtel Now or the Foxtel app.
Foxtel was forced to issue an apology on Monday after its online streaming services crashed just as users were gearing up to watch the latest GoT episode.
The company has since issued another statement which elaborated on the outage:
The combination of new Foxtel Now customers signing up and existing customers upgrading to get the Drama Pack so they could watch the show, put unprecedented pressure on our technical operations.
Foxtel’s Identity Management System (IDM), which verifies customers’ entitlement to view content, which usually handles around 5,000 processes a day, was hit with 70,000 transactions in just a few hours.
Unfortunately, due to this massive surge in demand, a significant number of customers experienced difficulty logging in to Foxtel Now and the Foxtel app. The system was unable to verify some customers’ entitlements. We are unable to say exactly how many customers were affected because the system is unable to separately identify customers who have a problem logging in but later successfully manage to do so.
We had anticipated heavy usage for [the] premiere; however, the traffic that eventuated far exceeded expectations. Foxtel’s engineers are examining what steps can be taken to mitigate any recurrence.
Given that the problems were driven by the volumes of people who sought to sign up on the day of broadcast Foxtel advises others who wish to sign up before next week’s episode to do so a few days in advance.
We note that problems were experienced in the USA, India and Latin America, also driven by the extraordinary surge in demand for the program.
The system is now working and customers are able to watch the episode either on demand or at an encore screening. Encores are scheduled for today Tuesday at midday and 9.15pm, on Wednesday at 1.20pm, Thursday at 10.10pm, Friday at 11.25am and Saturday at 8.30pm. Foxtel will also add multiple repeat screenings of the episode on the showcase channel.
Foxtel unreservedly apologises to customers who were affected by this issue.
We truly appreciate our customers’ patience during last night’s outage and will do everything possible to ensure that this does not occur again.