This month the consumer magazine compared the prices of Foxtel and Quickflix against the pricing of Netflix, which is only available overseas.
But by using unblocking methods such as paid services unblock-us.com and blockless.tv, or browser plug-ins like Hola, consumers can subscribe to Netflix in the US and view content faster and cheaper than Australian subscription services. And it’s entirely legal.
Consumers understand that paying for content is necessary to keep high-cost TV shows and movies in production. In many instances, illegal downloading has become commonplace because media companies have failed to keep up with changing consumer viewing habits and technology.
The success of legal music streaming services such as Spotify in Australia shows that consumers are willing to pay for content if they can get it when and how they want it.
Spotify offers a free ad-based service, as well as a premium ad-free one. Australasian managing director Kate Vale believes that Spotify provides a legal alternative to piracy, which contributes to its success.
“[Piracy] was huge in Australia,” Ms Vale said in May this year. “What has been shown in other markets is that when we do a launch, piracy does go down.”
TV and movie studios need to adapt to the changing world and give Australian consumers better access to content at more competitive prices. This presents new commercial possibilities for them, and is also the best way of taking incentives away from piracy.
Appealing to governments to crack down on illegal downloading through punitive measures such as the three-strikes law – which can strip consumers of important essential services – is the wrong path.
Provide consumers with an accessible, affordable and legal alternative to piracy, and they will take it.
CHOICE is even advocating a social media campaign to spread the word. “Don’t play by their rules” it insists.
However it neglected to mention Foxtel will launch its IPTV service Foxtel Play in mid-August.
The Australian reports the Play service will allow consumers to watch programs from more than 40 channels across multiple internet connected devices including selected connected TVs and games consoles at home as well as with compatible smartphones, tablets and PC and Mac computers through the Foxtel Go app. Foxtel Play will not require lock-in contracts and channel packages will start from $25 a month.
“That will liberate for a lot of people who have found Foxtel to be cost-prohibitive,” Brian Walsh said this week.
“It will allow a lot of people who could not afford Foxtel before to get a Foxtel product over the net on to their PCs or on to their smart TVs.”