A “devastated” Foxtel has apologised to angry Game of Thrones fans after its streaming service crashed during Monday’s highly-anticipated season seven premiere.
Foxtel Now users were left furious after they tuned in to watch the hit HBO show, only to be met with an error message.
Foxtel greeted the backlash head-on with a press release proclaiming “Game of Thrones Phenomenon Crash Sites Across the Globe!”, blaming “unprecedented demand” for the collapse.
“We are devastated that due to unprecedented demand, we are experiencing problems with our online services this evening,” Foxtel said in a statement.
“Obviously this comes at a time when so many of our customers are wanting to watch the first episode of season seven of Game of Thrones.”
The company was quick to point out other regions in the world experienced similar technical difficulties.
“We note that problems were experienced in the USA, India and Latin America, also driven by the extraordinary surge in demand for the program,” a later statement said.
The company claimed the number of Australians subscribing to Foxtel Now had soared by 40 per cent in the 48 hours before Monday night’s premiere, with a “record audience of 1.5 million Australians” expected to have watched it on an iQ box, Foxtel Now or the Foxtel App.
Company spokesman Bruce Meagher told The New Daily: “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.”
But Foxtel’s advice to fans that they could watch the episode later using its “On Demand features” was met with a mix of anger and disbelief.
The statement was shared more than 600 times and received more than 3500 comments, with the majority slamming the streaming service.
“Are you seriously, seriously saying that you didn’t/couldn’t foresee a massive surge in demand for the premier episode of a show that so many people have invested so much time in, that you spent so much time and money promoting? How stupid are you?” one fan wrote.
“At this point it’s just easier to torrent Game of Thrones than do the right thing and get Foxtel to work … just a joke,” another said.
When you get FOXTEL Now so that you can legally watch #GoT and then it doesn't even load. I'll go back to illegally obtaining it then
— Bleepity Bloop (@jveetz) July 17, 2017
— Mena (@alldaymena) July 17, 2017
Australians were last year ranked number one in the world for illegally downloading Game of Thrones’ season six.
The US premiere of Game of Thrones season seven smashed HBO ratings records.
The episode drew 16.1 million viewers in the US on Sunday night [local time], including 10.1 million who watched on the linear channel and the rest coming from DVR and streaming.
It represented an incredible 50 per cent increase from last year’s premiere, when the show premiered in the spring when TV viewership is typically higher than the summer.
The viewership also made the episode the most-watched season premiere for any HBO series to date. The premiere also saw the highest number of concurrent viewers across the streaming services HBO Go and HBO Now.
Game of Thrones season six ultimately averaged a gross audience of 25.7 million viewers per episode across platforms and in delayed viewing, making it the most watched season of an HBO series on record.