Ask LH: Will Game Of Thrones Season 4 Be On Google Play?

Hey Lifehacker, Google Play has recently begun selling TV shows in Australia. I’ve noticed that some new-release episodes have been made available on the Play Store shortly after their broadcast in the US (namely The Walking Dead). Given that the new season of Game Of Thrones is beginning this coming Monday, I wanted to know if it will be made available on the Play Store. I’m aware of HBO’s exclusivity deal with Foxtel, and that it won’t be available on iTunes, but I’m definitely not going to take out a Foxtel subscription just for one show. Any insights? Thanks, (Preferably) Law-Abiding Citizen

Dear PLAC,

Google Play did indeed start selling TV episodes back in March, and it will happily flog you the first three seasons of Game Of Thrones. But it isn’t going to score fast access to Game Of Thrones. No digital retailer is.

Foxtel’s deal — and indeed HBO’s general approach throughout the world — means that if you want to see the show quickly, you need to sign up for a channel subscription. You can watch the show through Foxtel Play and avoid a long-term contract and too much expense — indeed, this won’t cost you much more than $3 per episode, though you won’t have a permanent copy. But there’s no other legal way of accessing the show while Season 4 is broadcasting.

When the season finishes, we’d expect that Game Of Thrones will show up on Google Play (and indeed on iTunes). That isn’t much help if you want to see the episodes as soon as they’re broadcast and don’t want to pay Foxtel. With that said, it’s not like we don’t already know most of what’s going to happen, since the series is well behind the books. That means there’s a different kind of “spoiler risk” than with other shows not based on existing properties.

One day we may live in a world where TV programs are made available on every conceivable platform as soon as they are “broadcast”. We don’t live in that world yet, and the rules are going to vary for individual shows for quite some time.


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