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Tencent Video delays ‘Game of Thrones’ finale in China, asks for fan riots

SHANGHAI (Reuters) – China’s Tencent Video has a delay in the broadcast of the “Game of Thrones” finale, according to an official notification issued by the online streaming site on Monday, ask riot among the fans of the popular TV-series in the country.

The last episode of Game of Thrones is projected at a watch party in the borough of Manhattan of New York City, united states, May 19, 2019. REUTERS/Caitlin Dressing

Tencent Video, who owns the online broadcast rights in China for the long smash series from HBO, and was originally planned to air the episode at 9 o’clock Beijing time, or 0100 GMT.

But an hour before the scheduled broadcast, one of Tencent Video’s official accounts on Weibo, a Chinese social media site announced that the broadcast would be postponed.

“Dear users, we regret to inform you that the sixth episode of the eighth season of Game of Thrones will not go online in due time as a result of the media transfer problems,” the announcement reads. “We will keep you informed of the transmission time.”

Several viewers expressed anger online on Tencent Video, with many demanding refunds for their membership, if the last episode was broadcast around the world, bringing the curtains down on the series that has been running for eight seasons.

“All these paying members and their trust, and this is how you solve it,” one viewer wrote on Weibo after the broadcast was postponed. This costs 15 yuan per month, or 198 yuan ($28.66) a year for access to some exclusive shows like Game of Thrones.

Others were sceptical about the reason for the delay, which suggests that the political tensions were to blame.

“It Is the result of the trade war between the U.S. and China?”, wrote another Weibo user in a top-ranked comment.

Tencent Holdings has not responded to a request for comment on the broadcast delay through the video platform.

By the end of 2014, Tencent signed a deal with HBO for the broadcast of a number of the TV channel content only in China.

But the Chinese internet giant has heavily censored some Game of Thrones episodes, is the removal of scenes with sex and excessive gore, in line with Beijing’s broader push to clean up the content seen as vulgar or not in line with socialist values.

Despite the cuts, the series has entered China’s cultural zeitgeist as elsewhere in the world.

The first episode of the eighth and final season consists of more than 20 million views in its first day in China, shows the data of Maoyan, a Tencent-backed online ticketing website.

In April, Chinese premier Li Keqiang referred to the Emmy-winning medieval fantasy series at a diplomatic meeting in Dubrovnik, in Croatia, where a number of his scenes were shot.

Reporting by Josh Horwitz and Shanghai newsroom; Editing by with the ipad has Himani

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