I’m having a bit of a moan this Monday. It may come as no surprise to you that I’m a fairly big media consumer. Being a pop culture addict, I like to watch, read and play as much of the latest stuff as soon as I can to avoid being spoiled. Unfortunately though, I live in Australia – home of geoblocking. For the un-initiated, geoblocking is the process by which big media companies make sure their properties are only available in certain locations. Like the fact that the American Netflix library is 3 times larger than Australia’s. Or that feeling when you Google a movie and it’s in the US iTunes store but not Oz. Not to mention the Australia Tax. Don’t even get me started on that nonsense. Basically in Australia, due to exclusivity agreements (like with Game of Thrones) or just plain bone headed decision making by some program manager we have a content availability problem that leads ordinary people to internet piracy in droves.
The Search For Duck Tales (Woo-ooo)
Does this seem a bit techy for a parenting blog? Well let me put it a different way by telling you about my son’s recent obsession with Duck Tales. I was a huge Saturday Disney fan as a kid with Duck Tales being the crown jewel of the program. I adored the show. So imagine my excitement when I hear they are rebooting it for a new generation with Mr David ‘Doctor Who’ Tennant as Scrooge McDuck. I was absolutely over the moon that I would get to share something that was so a part of my formative years with my kid. And it has David Tennant! And Lin-Manuel Miranda and Kate Micucci! Excuse me. Fangirling over.
So we were both excited, and we’ve been eagerly watching the same 12 minutes of Youtube footage for about 3 months before we finally saw the premiere date. 12th August on Disney XD. Cool, awesome. We have a Foxtel Now subscription with access to Disney XD so I figured with the way Foxtel is fast tracking big things now ( and I assure you this is a big deal amongst certain circles) it should be on there fairly quick. We all had a massive bug this week so I figured as a little treat I might try and track down Duck Tales (woo-oo) for my son and I fell down the rabbit hole of a textbook content availability issue.
First – Foxtel
So I waited until after the premiere date and checked Foxtel XD. No dice. Okay, I’ll just drop em a line on Facebook. No big.
A quick message to Foxtel tells me that they are getting the shorts currently available on YouTube, and even then only at the end of September. When advised that the show is actually 20 minutes long and just had a double episode premiere, she informed me that it wasn’t on their radar at all. Sigh.
Thinking maybe I’d just gotten a bad egg I went directly to Disney XD Australia – they hadn’t mentioned Duck Tales on their Twitter at all so I wasn’t holding out much hope. these guys didn’t bother to reply as of time of writing – five days after my email.
Second – iTunes
to iTunes then! Nope nothing there sorry. How about the classic show then? Nope still no joy. A quick chat with Apple referred me back to Foxtel as they usually have exclusive rights to Disney XD content until the end of the season. Right.
Third – Youtube
ah awesome Disney XD put both episodes on YouTube for everyone to enjoy. Yeah you probably see where this is going right?
Why Is This Still A Thing?
While I am aware that this is completely a first world problem. Boo hoo she didn’t get to watch a show she wanted to watch etc etc it’s indicative of a much bigger issue within our current government – rather than looking to the heart of something to resolve it (realising that if people CAN buy content, they will or legislating about a human rights issue) they instead run to the easiest solution (heavier piracy laws and a plebiscite). I agree that the rights of content owners need to be protected, the cases of Game of Thrones, The Lego Movie (or indeed Duck Tales) tells us that Australians don’t like being left behind in the race against spoilers. In the words of Malcolm Turnbull himself – ‘a part of the solution is making content available in Australia at the same time, or very shortly after, it is released overseas and at a comparable price.’
Seems pretty simple doesn’t it? Rather than doling out exorbitant fines or suing innocent people, just make the content available. At this point, I think anything other than a quick fix is beyond George Brandis’s understanding. So until we get someone who actually understands the issues at hand, I’ll be sailing on the good ship VPN to watch my Duck Tales (Woo-oo).