Tag Archives: vod

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.

How Is Netflix Just So Damn Good?

This topic was decided upon stemming from the thought, “why is so much good content being produced on Netflix?”. Some of my favourite shows in recent years have been Netflix original productions (House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black), or Amazon original productions like Transparent. Shows like these have and continue to dominate prestigious Hollywood awards seasons, winning Emmy’s and Golden Globes year after year. The amount of VoD services that have original productions nominated and critically acclaimed grows every year. So clearly, my previously mentioned thought, has some validity to it, despite the fact that the term ‘good’ relative to content can be incredibly subjective.

I have realised that I’ve failed to mention that I intend on presenting my final project in the form of a research report. Therefore, I have also realised that I need to get crackin on a literature review. Luckily for me, I have come across an academic thesis written by Henry Zhu Tang in 2014,The Collaborative Filtering Effect of Netflix Ratings for Indie Films versus Blockbusters and Heavy Users versus Casual Users. This source is incredibly valuable to me as it incorporates many of the themes I discussed (and intend to expand on) in my previous blog post. Tang writes about the way Netflix uses recommendation algorithms to assist it’s users in finding content they presumably would be interested in and how this correlates to the type of content Netflix chooses to buy and also fund production of. Before reading this, I wasn’t even entirely aware of this connection. Everyone knows about the recommendation algorithms, love them or hate them, if you use the service, you are subjected to them. Personally, I don’t know where I stand on the privacy issue of Netflix knowing intricate details about my personality based on my TV and movie taste, but I do like a good recommendation. I hadn’t thought deep enough about the connection to how they utilise the recommendation algorithm for the type and quality content they offer. As it turns out, Netflix started out in 1997 as a service dedicated to providing more alternative content:

“In 1997, Reed Hastings and Marc Randolph founded Netflix, an online DVD-by-mail retailer that usurped the traditional brick-and-mortar model. At once, a wider library of titles had become available to consumers than ever before. Netflix introduced a proprietary recommendation system, powered by a collaborative filtering algorithm, to select movies to watch for its customers, a feature it continues to use for its global video streaming service today. This collaborative filtering algorithm would further highlight indie or niche films that could not be found (or were prohibitively difficult to find) in stores.”

Many of the ideas Tang writes about are connected to 4 of my 5 main talking points so far:

  1. Content with better diversity.

      2. Creators having more freedom around the production of content.

      3. VoD services content favouring audience viewing habits.

      4. Netflix buying up the rights to more low budget, yet ‘prestigious’ films at Sundance.

Due to how supportive this thesis is to my talking points for my report, I will likely go ahead and rely heavily on it throughout.