Game of Thrones season 7 premiered today amid a lot of hype and excitement in the US. In India, Hotstar, Star India’s popular digital entertainment service, which was supposed to stream the first episode minutes after it had aired in the United States, faced flak on social media from fans who could not watch the episode because of a glitch that delayed the streaming. The subscribers instead got an error message on their screens that went like this: Something went wrong – we’re working on it. Please try again in a bit. The anger of fans was palpable.
“And #hotstar is having streaming issues with the #GoTS7 premiere episode. I can already imagine their engineering team getting the wrath” a user said. “No, not cool Hotstar” another tweeted with a snap of the error screen. “Thats what happen u want to watch ur show legally. #Hotstar atleast stand for ur viewers money. #GameOfThrones” complained another.
HBO and Hotstar had launched a campaign which encouraged users to watch the show legally instead of downloading the pirated copy from torrent sites. The campaign had been entitled Torrents Morghulis in a reference to the phrase Valar Morghulis which recurs in the show from fictional Valyrian language. Valar Morghulis means all men must die, thus Torrents Morghulis means torrents must die.
— Gautam Chaudhary (@gkcgautam) July 17, 2017
No, not cool Hotstar pic.twitter.com/IIpZU0AoXp
— Tushar Kanwar (@2shar) July 17, 2017
— Diptiranjan Sahu (@DiptiR_BS) July 17, 2017
When indianexpress.com reached out to Hotstar, we received an email response from CEO Mr Ajit Mohan, who said, “Game of Thrones Season 7 premiered this morning in India, exclusively on Hotstar Premium. As a service, we are proud that we have built a platform that can handle big surges in viewership. This morning, however, we faced an unprecedented surge in interest around the opening of the new season of Game of Thrones which resulted in a service disruption of about 8 minutes. While we are delighted that fans around the country wholeheartedly embraced our message of Torrents Morghulis [Torrents Must Die], we are deeply apologetic for the service disruption. Server Morghulis was not the desired outcome at all!”