How to Stop the Pirating of TV Shows in Australia

Australia; where you get charged a considerable amount more than the US for the same digital content, and can only watch it months later when it's released Down Under. Want to keep up with the rest of the world and watch shows on demand? Act on it - Then you're a pirate.


  1. In Australia, watching your favourite TV show is harder than just turning on the TV. Australians have less viewing options, pay more and typically wait longer for releases. It's really no surprise Australia is home to the largest pirating population in the world.
  2. Lots of attention has been placed on the fact that Australian consumers are the biggest pirates in the world. There are news articles published daily about how Australian's are in fact the world's worst pirates. But no research has been undertaken to discover the reasons why this is so.
  3. Therefore there is a huge need for research to be undertaken in Australia by distributor companies. The stakeholder I propose this research to is Foxtel. It is imperative that they begin to respond to the wants and needs of the pirating audience instead of fighting against them. My research aims to gain qualitative data about the pirating audience of Australia and their reasons for pirating. The information gathered will be of benefit to the consumers of Australia and to Foxtel as they can gain more customers.
  4. TorrentFreak reports that a new study carried out in Australia has discovered that about 74 percent of teens between the ages of 12 and 17 abstain from pirating online content. However, this statistic doesn't include those who still consume pirated content illegally downloaded by someone else; a friend or family member.

    However what good is all this quantitative data? There is a need to unearth the real reasons Australians feel they must turn to pirating to fulfil their media needs and wants. The Australian Government have been trying to work out ways to punish these pirates and how to shut down the websites allowing people to pirate. These are simply putting a bandaid over the wound, and ignoring the real problems.
  5. Currently, content providers break the world up into geographic areas, and local distributors buy the rights for their own geographic region under an agreement which prohibits selling copies to anyone in someone else's geographic region. In Australia at this time, Foxtel has got contracts (for the next few years at least) with the majority of movie studies, in the US, to be the sole distributor of their content in Australia.
  6. The most fitting example of piracy is HBO’s Game of Thrones, which has been named the most widely pirated show in history. In Australia the series is distributed exclusively on a subscription basis by Foxtel. Currently Game of Thrones fans must pay for a $74 per month subscription to watch via TV on the Showcase channel.
  7. Foxtel said of the approximately 500,000 subscribers to Foxtel’s Game of Thrones, another 500,000 pirated the show making the subscriber/pirate population around 1:1.
  8. Primary Research
  9. In order to find out qualitative information on the Australian consumer and their pirating habits, I undertook a survey with 50 Australians ages 16-64. From the survey it was obvious that in 2014, the current platforms available to consumers aren't sufficient and aren't fulfilling their media needs.
  10. Findings
  11. 1. Aussie TV and movie viewers just want the same instant gratification they can get from streaming music. Consumers want the capacity to watch whatever they want instantly, at a high quality on any device. They want instant gratification at a reasonable price – nothing more than $10 or $20 a month, instead of the $100+ that Foxtel is currently charging. Consumers are willing and happy to pay a monthly fee of $10 for platforms such as Spotify which they can then download all the music they want under that monthly fee.
  12. Solution
  13. - Stop the delay of content brought to Australia. Its 2014, why must Australians wait for days, weeks and months on end, when we have the technology to stream TV shows straight from the US? The key issue is availability. More often than not, the only way to get content in Australian on a timely schedule is to pirate it.
  14. Consumers would stop pirating content if they were able to watch it within a few hours of being aired in the US or UK. No consumers want to wait months for a TV show to be aired on free-to-air Australian television and in the meantime see a multitude of spoilers and memes about the episode on the internet. Australians want their content at the same time as the rest of the world. It isn’t that consumers in Australia don’t want to pay for content, it’s that they want to be able to access the latest episode of Pretty Little Liars or The Walking Dead at the same time as their Twitter and Tumblr followers. They want to be able to participate in the global conversation, to see a picture re-blogged of an episode and not have the whole episode ruined as they're waiting for it to become available in Australia. If I waited for Pretty Little Liars to air on free-to-air TV I wouldn't have even watched a single episode of the 5 seasons.
  15. - Consumers want instant gratification at a reasonable price – nothing more than $10 or $20 a month, instead of the $100+ that Foxtel wants to charge. Consumers are willing and happy to pay a monthly fee of $10 for platforms such as Spotify which they can then download all the music they want under that monthly fee. Stop the 'Australia tax', whereby digital products (including games and music), are 50% more expensive in Australia.
  16. Netflix in the US allows consumers to instantly watch unlimited movies and TV episodes over the Internet on your TV via a PS3, Wii, Xbox 360, or any other Netflix-enabled device. Most importantly, consumers only pay $7.99US a month. There is no comparable medium in Australia. Foxtel is the only similar platform but costing Australian consumers a hefty price, and can only be watched on one device. Consumers have to pay extra for each TV in the house they want it on, and extra again for shows you want to watch on demand. There needs to be a new product developed which resembles Netflix, but available to all Australian consumers.
  17. If this can not be developed, Australians consumers should be given the legal right to buy on international markets anything they want if there is no comparable product produced locally. That call is up to Foxtel (or the Australian Government) as they are the main content provider for TV shows such as Game of Thrones in Australia.
  18. As evident from the above research, it is obvious that the end - or decline - of pirating in Australia will only come about when the consumers needs and wants are listened to and answered.
  19. References
    - James Law. 2014. Illegal downloading: Should you think twice before using torrenting websites?. [ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 29 October 14].
    - Andy. 2014. TEEN PIRATES PAY FOR MOVIES MORE OFTEN THAN NON-PIRATES. [ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 01 November 14].
    - II-Net. 2014. What’s the issue with Piracy in Australia?. [ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 29 October 14].
    - MARTIN KRETSCHMER & DANIEL ZIZZO. 2014. Why People Pirate Movies, TV Shows, Games And Books. [ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 01 November 14].
    - Bridget Judd. 2014. 'Piracy cancer' will kill Australian film, TV industry: Wolf Creek actor John Jarratt. [ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 01 November 14].
    - Renai LeMay. 2011. Netflix in Australia? Forget about it.. [ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 01 November 14].
    - Dom Knight. 2013. Why can't Australia really have TV on demand?. [ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 01 November 14].
    - Jesse Matheson. 2013. OPINION: CAN PIRATES SOLVE AUSTRALIA’S PIRACY PROBLEM?. [ONLINE] Available at: . [Accessed 01 November 14].