Game of Thrones Goes SD on FTA

Game of Thrones is the latest HD drama to graduate from SoHo to Prime for an SD run.

But will it end up more sliced and diced than many of its protagonists?

The Sky-owned broadcaster promoted Game of Thrones as “coming soon” during its top-rating Olympics coverage and this morning announced it would air 9.30 Wednesdays from September 5.

However, screening in SD won’t be the HBO hit’s only point of difference — it also will be cut to meet free-to-air broadcast standards.

“Due to the explicit nature and content of this series, Prime will carefully edit episodes to comply with BSA [Broadcasting Standards Authority] standards, mindful to ensure story lines remain intact, for its free-to-air debut,” the press release said.

Several other HD series have made the jump from SoHo to Prime, including Boardwalk Empire and Strike Back, but Game of Thrones will be the most challenging because of its often bewildering, serpentine storytelling — which won’t be enhanced by editing, no matter how judicious.

Moreover, season one has been out on disc for six months (a $70 collector’s edition is due in November, ahead of season two’s probable release in March 2013) — so chances are the non-SoHo subscribers who were keen to see the series already will have done so.

Still, it’s good to see a FTA network with the nerve to experiment with such fare in primetime when its competitors have relegated the likes of Justified and Southland to off-peak.

The scheduling also underscores the value of Sky’s SoHo initiative, which allows it to cherry pick series for its FTA channel, too.

The tragedy is Sky continues to let Prime languish in SD.

It should have used the Olympics’ pulling power — the channel’s average audience overall was 4.5 times higher than in the four-week period prior to the Games — to relaunch Prime as an HD broadcaster on the eve of programming coups like Game of Thrones and an output deal with CBS Studios International that will deliver it one of the most anticipated series of the 2012/13 season, Elementary.

Until it does, Prime has little prospect of dethroning its rivals.

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2 Responses to “Game of Thrones Goes SD on FTA”

  1. Looks like it’s going to get the censor’s razor job …

    http://www.stuff.co.nz/entertainment/tv/7525341/Game-of-Thrones-too-sexy-for-TV

  2. What a waste of time. I thought the series was rubbish but if you’re going to watch this you won’t want it sanitised or in SD. Go buy the BD or download the series.

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