Foxtel points to global problems after ‘Game of Thrones’ “meltdown”

 Foxtel has apologised to fans of the popular TV series ‘Game of Thrones’ after its streaming services failed spectacularly to meet demand for the first episode of the latest season. However, the pay-TV company was quick to point to similar crashes in other countries, saying the premiere had “caused technical glitches around the world.”

Rather than the linear broadcast, the problems impacted Foxtel’s online and ondemand services; login and password reset pages were delayed or timed out altogether, while streams in progress stopped partway through and could not be restarted. By the evening of the premiere, Foxtel’s own social media channels and third party service outage sites were overflowing with complaints from angry viewers, many threatening to simply pirate the content having tried to obtain it legally through a Foxtel subscription.

Foxtel, which has exclusive rights to the current season in Australia until the final episode has been broadcast, has been at the forefront of anti-piracy efforts in the country; ‘Game of Thrones’ has been named the most pirated show in the world for several years running.

“Tonight’s global premiere of the new season of Game of Thrones has caused technical glitches around the world, with online sites crashing in the United States, Latin America and Australia. The show’s producer and U.S. broadcaster, HBO, reported its technical systems could not cope.” said Foxtel in a statement.

 “In Australia, the surge of demand for Foxtel’s recently launched online product, Foxtel Now, also experienced customer meltdown.”

“We are devastated that some customers experienced technical issues tonight. As was the case in the U.S. and Latin America, the unprecedented rush for a subscription just prior to the telecast crashed the system,” added spokesman Bruce Meagher at the time of the meltdown.

“Foxtel engineers are working through the night to resolve the issue. It’s most unfortunate and we apologise to those affected. We are committed to resolving the technical faults immediately and together with our broadcast partners around the world, we are giving this the same degree of priority. We assure anyone impacted that they will be able to watch the first episode of Season 7 either On Demand or via one of our encore screenings throughout the week. We will continue to communicate with affected customers to ensure they are fully informed.”

After the issue had been resolved, Foxtel went into more detail, explaining that a massive surge in customers either signing up or upgrading their packages in order to watch the show had overloaded its identity management system.

The firm said that the IDM had been hit with 70,000 transactions in a few hours, against th normal workload of around 5,000 processes a day; it added that the number of Australians subscribing to its streaming service had leaped 40% in the 48 hours prior to the premiere screening. Petroc Wilton, Commsday