Last night, Foxtel Now's servers went into meltdown at the worst possible moment - just before the premiere of Game Of Thrones season 7. This left an undisclosed number of customers unable to watch the show at the same time as the rest of the world. After issuing a rushed apology, Foxtel has come clean with more details about what went wrong.
Here's the official statement from Foxtel in full:
Game of Thrones, is a global television phenomenon and the launch of Season 7 was the most anticipated television event of the year.
The number of Australians subscribing to Foxtel’s streaming service, foxtel now leapt by 40% in the 48 hours prior to last night’s screening of Episode 1. We expect a record audience of 1.5 million Australians to watch this episode via an iQ box, Foxtel Now or the Foxtel App.
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 last night’s 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.
Pretty standard apology, I'm sure you'll agree. However, we're a bit leery of this particular nugget:
"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."
This suggests that the problem might not not be fixed yet, especially for customers who have yet to join. We'd heed Foxtel's advice here - sign up a few days before episode 2. Either that, or access the show via more assured methods. (Infer from that what you will.)