Tuesday, April 15, 2014

PURPLE WEDDING PROBLEM. DStv and M-Net's big Game of Thrones problem and the urgent need to close the broadcast window gap.

If you're living in far-flung Castamere and if you're the very last person on earth who still get your news sent by raven, you won't know that the fourth season of fantasy drama Game of Thrones just offed a major character.

That is a big problem for M-Net, DStv and South African TV viewers who are getting the news spoilt for them.

Even South African publications reporting on television are gleefully telling who just died (which is their job).

They can't artificially wait until M-Net has finally broadcast an episode of the new season - the news and casting changes, departing actor interviews, creator and writers talking about why they did what they did, and the various plot twists are all happening now. It has currency, value and relevance now.

It means that South African viewers are not able to watch episodes of Game of Thrones almost like overseas audiences, because spoilers quickly become too pervasive to evade and ignore - Game of Thrones is yet to start on M-Net in South Africa on 18 April at 21:30.

Yet the realm (meaning those pesky interwebs and the social webs) are full of the news that K..., uhm someone was poisoned and killed off.

After a wonderful idea to "box set-idise" Game of Thrones' previous seasons on MultiChoice's DStv on Demand's Catch-Up service, it is actually now a bummer and a let down that a two week wait must pass between Game of Thrones episodes being shown in South Africa.

A clever M-Net would try to get back to at least only a one week gap as before, or even a narrower window for a high value, high quality, premium content TV show, because what is now happening is that both DStv and M-Net are losing out on buzz, viewership and content value by waiting too long.

Fans of Game of Thrones who will presumably watch and follow Game of Thrones will very likely now already know some of the big new things that happened since they're being exposed to it involuntarily.

It would serve DStv and M-Net better - and by implication M-Net subscribers and DStv subscribers better, to try and narrow this gulf again between the roll-out of episodes of Game of Thrones in South Africa compared to the United States and other overseas countries who are also seeing it within a day or two.