VoD Streaming In Australia

For my final blog post, I want to expand on an aspect of my topic that I haven’t mentioned much in these blogs or in my seminar presentation, but that I do wish to include in my research report. The rise of the streaming giants is having a significant effect on Australia’s media landscape. Australian’s are well-known for their excessive pirating habits of popular television shows and films – we have, for quite some time now, held the title of world’s most prolific pirates of Game of Thrones. 

However, the introduction of Netflix (and local competitors Stan and Presto) to the Australian market has seen these numbers decrease slightly, a nod to the willingness of the Australian public to legally access content as long it is in fact there to legally access. VoD services provide easy and affordable access to huge libraries of content that were previously harder to find – hence why torrenting figures were higher before Netflix and co were introduced.

While torrenting statistics have gone down, the number of Australian’s using a VPN has increased in recent years due to privacy concerns and the desire to access content from streaming services that are usually made unavailable to us. This leads to another issue that comes with the introduction of Netflix – and that is that it localises it’s content significantly. Netflix in Australia only has approximately 2000 titles in it’s library compared to the US Netflix library of nearly 6000Many Australian users enlisted the help of a VPN to gain access to libraries from other countries including the US and the UK and were disgruntled to find out that Netflix would be taking measures to stop this from happening. However, it’s likely that Netflix isn’t trying too hard to do this and one of their future goals appears to be to make all of it’s content globally accessible, but that just may take some time.

This news comes as a new report by the Australian Productivity Commission came out stating that “Australian consumers should be able to legally circumvent geoblocking restrictions that prevent them from using foreign online streaming services like US Netflix”.

The report also “urges a major overhaul of intellectual property laws” in Australia, proving what a significant impact the rise of VoD services is having on the Australian media landscape.

One thought on “VoD Streaming In Australia

  1. Key to this discussion about the motivations behind Netflix’ restrictive response to Australians accessing overseas Netflix services via VPNs is a deeper understanding of Netflix’ legal obligations when expanding into new countries. While your discussion acknowledges the global cyber-citizen’s response to the library of content available to U.S. users (see http://www.kotaku.com.au/2016/02/australia-isnt-the-worst-country-for-netflix-but-its-hardly-the-best-either/), there seems to be little acknowledgement of the licencing and distribution models which are responsible for these restrictions. While Netflix has indicated that they will be arguing globally for the elimination of territorial laws regarding licencing, currently they only have the rights to stream *some* content in Australia which they have the distribution rights for in the U.S. Australians’ access of content for which an alternate streaming service like Stan has distribution rights for in Australia counts as a breach of Netflix’ licencing agreements and thus could lead to the withdrawal of Netflix’ distribution rights from content owners and payment of damages and/or loss of income (see http://www.mondaq.com/australia/x/462400/broadcasting+film+television+radio/Territorybased+licensing+and+distribution+agreements+lessons+from+Netflix for more info). This problem clearly demonstrates the disconnect happening between cyberculture and media laws/content owners (see for more info http://www.cnet.com/au/news/why-you-cant-have-everything-the-netflix-licensing-dilemma/).

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