Foxtel Now died in prime time last night, just as tens of thousands of viewers were logging on to watch the debut episode of season seven of Game of Thrones. Now, Foxtel has explained what happened, and what it's doing to make things right for customers.
Here's Foxtel's official statement:
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.