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).
I find it baffling that people won’t just let us pay for things. WHY?! The demand is here. The audience is here. The ability and willingness to pay is here. It’s so stupid. It’s LITERALLY bad business.
And don’t get me started on different regions of DVDs… all of which I’ve bought legally living in other countries but nooo… can’t watch them all in some players/some computers.
I know right? We are holding out our money asking for it to be taken but they just don’t want it.
I agree, Vanessa! So frustrating.
Yes! This is pure frustration!
Oh my goodness, I was having a rant about this on Friday night at my in-laws! They had the news on and were talking about the new whatever it is they are doing to punish people who illegally download. It does my head in about how effing stupid they are!!! Instead of making ISPs block the pirate sites why not have an inquiry in to why people are using the sites in the first place and making policy to ensure that these ridiculous content deals and the price-gouging that goes along with it are fixed so that people can watch what they want, when they want, at a price they can afford. 99% of people will pay for content, if they could just bloody well access it!
There was a big boxing match that you had to pay Foxtel & Main Event to watch. There was a big thing about how people who had brought the fight on Main Event then sat and FB-lived the fight and thousands upon thousands of people watched it via those streams (my husband and his workmates included). Some of those streams had up to 200,000 people watching them, if not more. Now if the idiots at Foxtel had given all those FB live viewers a way to pay even $1 each to watch a live stream that’s $200,000 they would have made, and I bet 99% of people would have paid that $1! It was the perfect example of how ridiculous the content restrictions in this country are and how if the idiots that run these companies and own these rights just caught up with the times they could stop piracy in it’s tracks while still making plenty of money!!!
I completely agree! I remember watching a Louis CK bit once about Australia where he said he was amazed at how normal people pirate here. Like it’s just apart of life. Apparently in the US it’s just your standard needs with tin foil hats living in their parents basement.
That alone should tell you we have some kind of availability issue. It’s so ridiculous.
I totally agree – why not just make things a pay to use system – not a subscribe to everything and wait til it finally shows up system.
Oh my God, I have to watch this, just for David Tennant’s voice. This is amazing. And I am very sorry about geo-blocking, it sucks so much. I’ve got a VPN thing going on to be able to watch Aussie TV every now and then and stay sane.
P.S. US Netflix is ok. I can’t imagine having 1/2 the stuff on there though.
LOL I didn’t even realise this was a thing. I am in naive city or am I just a pirate? I obviously don’t get into watching much on the telly besides free to air tv.
Oh I hear you on this frustration even though it hasnt affected me as I am not a TV watcher much. My hub loves Netflix and yes I do believe he would like more content than we currently have. Grrrr. Thank you for linking up for #lifethisweek 32/52. Next week: Mindfulness.