NL Connect, the Dutch trade association of cable and telecom operators, has called for action by the consumer protection authority ACM when it comes content exclusivity.

In a blog on the NL Connect website, managing director Mathieu Andriessen, wrote that the exclusive availability of Game of Thrones on the VodafoneZiggo network has led to more piracy, against the current trend of paying for legal content.

With the increase availability of legal content, more and more people are now subscribing to one or more SVOD services. According to the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) 44% of the Dutch viewers are now paying, up from 28% four years ago.

The Netherlands now ranks second to Denmark in the EUIPO research in the list of countries with people paying for legal content. One in three now subscribes to Netflix, and recent GfK research showed that Netflix rules in the country, while Telecompaper has concluded that the SVOD service is available in one of three homes.

However, argues Andriessen, the exclusive right to GoT has people directed towards illegal viewing, with pirated access beating legal consumption. VodafoneZiggo may be available to the majority of people in the country, people outside the footprint have no other alternative than piracy. It is also unlikely that viewers will buy a subscription to VodafoneZiggo just to watch the series, he wrote.

Meanwhile, in a related development, VodafoneZiggo has teamed up with Pathe Cinemas for a free-to-attend screening in cinemas across the country of the final episode of Game of Thrones.

The Dutch trade association NL Connect brings together a number of smaller cable and telecom operators. The organisation changed it name to NLConnect from NL Kabel after Ziggo and CAIWay left.