Could this be the End of TV Leaks?

Following the complete blunder at HBO for the massive leak of the first few episodes of the newest Game of Thrones series, it seems the procedure has changed.

Previously HBO sent out DVD copies of the upcoming part or full series to critics for review, but now they are going to start a streaming only policy. The new policy will apply to all of HBO’s programming, but it seems that the primary target is aimed towards preventing more blunders like last month’s Game of Thrones; which spoiled almost half of the season before the premier. The four leaked episodes spread like wildfire, with them being downloaded hundreds of thousands of times within a day. At the time of the leaks, HBO said the episodes were in fact leaked from a group on its approved list and that it was actively searching for the culprits.

“The first round of streaming review copies will start with the next batch of Veep episodes, which will be made available to critics through a secure streaming site. Switching to streaming for press access has become more common as the HD quality of streams has grown more reliable. Currently, ABC and FOX both exclusively use streaming.”

Now in a digital age, where effectively nothing is safe online; surely making access to the upcoming episodes digital will prove more vulnerable? If someone on the internet wants information, they will get it.

How do you think making the new episodes a stream only service will play out? Let us know in the comments.

Thank you to IGN for proving us with this information.

Netflix Launching in Australia, New Zealand in March 2015

Australians are going ballistic over social media right now – Netflix has just announced via their media center that they will be launching their services in Australia and New Zealand coming March 15. One of my friends posting just recently on their Facebook page the exact (censored) status of: “Holy mother f***g s**t batman!!!! NETFLIX IS COMING TO AUSTRALIA !!”

Self-claimed as the “World’s Leading Internet Television Network to Offer Original Series, Movies, Documentaries, Stand-Up Comedy Specials and TV Shows for Low Monthly Price”, those outside of Australia (and some within) might not realize that most Aussies have been using Netflix already for months – through utilizing VPN software. For those who aren’t aware, in simple terms – a VPN will fool someone into thinking that you reside in a country of choice, in this case Australians will install their VPN and set it to the United States therefore making Netflix servers think they reside in the US and therefore enabling them to use their services.

A major issue that comes with Netflix opening locally is that of pricing. Australians have become used to paying a ‘premium’ for re-released product. If you take a look at gaming prices for example, a ‘standard edition’ of an A+++ publisher release can easily cost us $110 per console game and $100 per PC edition – this is comparative to around $60 US in the States. What does that say for Netflix pricing? Recently Netflix has upped their US price by $1, to $8.99 per month, comparing this to an estimated price of $15+ AU per month (and more for our New Zealand brothers).

One more issue comes in the form of rights ownership. Australian cable company Foxtel own the rights to many publishing companies material, including the popular HBO series – Game of Thrones. It’s unsure if Netflix will be able to work around this issue due to them being US-based and an online service, only time will tell.

Even if Aussies have to pay a premium service price of $15 AU for Netflix’s local offering, it’s still better than the $25 per month (on 12 month contract) offered by Foxtel. I knew there was a reason my parents always wanted to stick with ‘Free-TV’.

Image courtesy of Netflix

Australians Gain the Ability to Watch Game of Thrones Through Google

Aussies rejoice! If you’re one of the seemingly few that wish to support your content creators to the fullest, Google is now offering streaming of Game of Thrones through their Google Play service.

Too good to be true? There’s a catch. As the season 4 finale has already aired and Google Play is late to the chase – only releasing the latest episode today. If this will be the same for future seasons or a once off, we don’t know for sure.

The pricing is reasonable however. Standard definition episodes air at $2.99 a piece (or $29.99 for a season), with the High definition option coming in at $3.49 each (and $34.99 per season), meaning this is a rather good alternative to Foxtel users who don’t watch much else.

What makes this Google move more intriguing is Foxtel’s apparent broadcast exclusivity – which I’m sure some users would have not purchased if they were aware of Google’s intentions previously.

All in all this is an interesting move by Google and we’re looking forward to see if the numbers stack up in the future.

To catch your own subscription, head to the Google Play Website.

Image courtesy of Pagesay

George R.R. Martin wants to kill YOU in the Game of Thrones

From what I hear, Game of Thrones is meant to be quite an invigorating series that is the brainchild of George R.R. Martin; personally though I couldn’t tell you a single thing about it at all as I’m not into these sort of programmes. Our resident gaming and TV series addict, Pete, however would be able to tell you tons of information on the subject – but lets brush around that for now.

As the series creator, Martin is certainly well-known around the world (I guess this may have something to do with this series?) and whilst he is regarded to be a cold-hearted writer, there is a softer side to this real-life character – especially when it comes to saving wolves and helping out his local population in Santa Fé.

So how goes a TV series and a persons charitable side come together? To give support to both of Martin’s close to heart charities, he has set up a campaign through Prizeo, where fans of the TV series – and everyone else for that matter – can send in their donations to help out the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and The Food Depot.

To spur his massive following into giving donations to both of these fantastic non-profit making organisations, backers can donate as little as $10 right up to a whopping $20,000 and based on the level that is donated, a number of rewards are on offer. Now unlike some charitable campaigns you won’t be seeing a cuddly toy or a picture sent out to you each week for the rest of the year; instead you will have to chance to own Martin’s own worn hat or even breakfast with him. Taking the opportunities up to another level, those who donate a little more could get tickets to the premier of Season 5 and a signed cookbook dedicated to the Game of Thrones.

Where the cream of the crop opportunity lies however is to those who donate that jaw dropping amount of $20,000, no you won’t see a hat or breakfast, nor will you get a book. What you will get is the chance to get yourself written into the next novel, “A Song of Ice and Fire”, where your fate will be met and you will die in a typically horrific manner. I hear this happens quite a lot – but hey donating large amounts of money to charity to help out those who are not so fortunate in life is worth dying for if you ask me – even if it is only in words.

Here is Martin’s message to the word:

Hi everyone,

It’s George R.R. Martin, and I’m here to raise money for the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary and The Food Depot of Santa Fé.

If you make a small donation to my campaign, you will automatically be entered to win an incredible experience. You and a friend will be flown out (from wherever you are in the world) to meet me in Santa Fé, where we’ll share a helicopter ride to the Wild Spirit Wolf Sanctuary.

In addition to touring the Sanctuary together, we’ll also have plenty of time to discuss the show, A Song of Ice and Fire, direwolves – and if there’s anything you have ever wanted to ask me, here’s your chance!

Thank you for supporting my campaign. I look forward to meeting one of you!

– George R.R. Martin

Even if you don’t pledge $20k or get the hat, breakfast, tickets or the cookbook, don’t worry as EVERYONE that pledges will be in with a change of winning a trip to Santa Fé, where you can hang out with a group of wolves which take their name from the novels – the Westeros Pack. That in itself is worth the pledge.

Even if you don’t get any of the above goodies, or the trip to see the wolves, what you will be able to take away from this campaign is the reassurance that you are supporting two very good causes and helping out those in need. If this still doesn’t persuade you, hear it from the man himself – George R.R. Martin: