Price Fixtel: No Choice But To Pay 431% More For US TV Shows?
Whether Australians use legal and local streaming or on-demand services, we’re paying through the nose for the same US television content that US-based viewers can access at much cheaper prices.
Choice CEO Alan Kirkland says: “Australians wanting to watch the upcoming season of Walking Dead will be paying up to 376 per cent more than people watching the same show in the United Kingdom.”
That is a whopping premium that may well may your bank balance feel like it is a member of the Walking Dead.
Choice goes on to explain that season 2 of the popular Netflix series Orange is the New Black currently costs Australians a minimum of $27.26 through Google Play, which is an incredible 219% more than what US Netflix customers pay, and if you watch it through Foxtel, you’ll pay up to 431% more to access the show.
Mr Kirkland continues, saying: “Time and again we are seeing consumers hit with the ‘Australia Tax’ on digital content. It’s clear the business models forced on consumers by local intermediaries are subjecting Australians to artificially high prices for overseas content.
“Consumers are asking themselves why they have to pay a premium to Foxtel when they can access and pay a reasonable price for content through legitimate overseas services like Netflix. Despite what some local incumbents have said, accessing Netflix – which will spend $3 Billion this year paying for content from studios – is legal.
“The heart of this issue is about local middlemen wanting to clip the ticket on popular overseas content rather than respond to changing technology and deliver affordable content online.”
Choice then goes on to explain that there are also shows that simply can’t be accessed legally from a local provider, pointing to Cinemax’s new Steven Soderbergh new drama “The Knick”, starring Clive Owen, which can be seen in the US for USD $13.99 per month, is available in Singapore and comes to the UK from October, but still has no local release date for Australians – although “The Knick” soundtrack is available locally for $18.99.
Choice does point to the Federal Government’s proposal for an “industry-run internet filter and making internet service providers responsible for policing downloads to curb illegal downloading”, but instead calls for “competition and market delivery issues to be addressed to allow consumers to easily pay a fair price for online content.”
Mr Kirkland adds: “We are concerned that the government is being influenced by the local cable industry to bring in laws that prop up out-dated technology and business models at the expense of cheaper internet streaming services.
“Piracy is a problem in Australia but we expect the Government to look to the market first for a solution. Australians struggle to pay a fair price to watch what they want at the same time as the rest of the world. The internet has made affordable content possible but Australian providers are not delivering.”
Last month, Choice crowd funded a satirical TV ad calling on the Government to “work smart, not hard to beat online piracy” featuring a fictitious Minister struggling to launch his hand made internet filter, with Choice saying it “continues to campaign against proposals that would make the internet more expensive without effectively addressing piracy.”