The War For TV: Aussie Networks Plea For Government Help To Fight Netflix

Report: Amazon Might Create an Online TV Service To Compete With Cable

The war for the future of television is on, and without knowing it, you have already chosen a side. Whether you prefer to stick to terrestrial broadcasts on free-to-air and Foxtel, or if you like to get your shows from the likes of iTunes, Google and even Netflix and Hulu you're either on one side or the other. Australian TV networks are arguably losing the war for the future of content, and they're going cap-in-hand to Malcolm Turnbull and the Government for help.

FreeTV Australia, a self-regulating body for the free-to-air broadcasting industry in Australia, wrote a submission to Communications Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, back in December. It was made public yesterday on its website.

The submission serves to discuss legislation in the Communications sector in Australia, and it outlines a swathe laws and taxes which can be reformed or simply repealed altogether.

One of the primary concerns of the free-to-air broadcasters is fees and taxes they are subjected to in bringing content to digital viewers. These are taxes that other local and international players like Netflix and Telstra aren't subjected to, and they want it stopped (emphasis added):

The Communications sector is going through a period of tumultuous change. The Broadcasting industry in particular is evolving at the fastest pace in living memory. From the perspective of the commercial free-to-air broadcasters:
Competition for both ‘eyeballs’ and advertising dollars continues to increase rapidly as new entrants, such as Google/YouTube, Netflix, Telstra, Fetch, JB HiFi, etc. enter or consider entering the market. As a result, revenues are under pressure, with the advertising market remaining as ‘short’ as ever;
• At the same time, commercial free-to-air broadcasters are investing heavily to make their services available across a wide range of devices in both linear and non-linear (catch-up) formats and content costs continue to increase as the FTAs continue to invest in local content
Our response to the Coalition’s deregulation initiative has been prepared in the light of this profound competitive, structural and economic ‘squeeze’ that the industry is experiencing. As an industry, we acknowledge and accept that from the perspective of many citizens, commercial FTA broadcasting is ‘special’: it is the home of high quality free content, especially news and sport; it is also the home of high quality Australian content; and finally, it holds a special place in the affections of many Australians, participating alongside the public broadcasting sector in the national conversation.
Therefore, we understand that many components of the regulatory regime are important, including obligations and commitments around local content and sports. However, during this period of change, commercial free-to-air broadcasters must be free to innovate and to compete hard for both audiences and advertisers. Our members need a level playing field if they are to continue to meet the high expectations of the Australian viewing public.

That "level playing field" for free-to-air broadcasters would involve the government deregulating much of the industry to remove financial and taxation burdens on said TV networks:

Deregulation should create a level financial playing field, especially in terms of licence fee and retransmission reform. This will enable the commercial free-to-air industry to compete on fair terms whilst still funding its important regulatory obligations around content, captioning, etc.

Free-to-air broadcasters also want out-dated regulation removed like the rule that requires main channels to be broadcast in standard definition rather than HD, and the removal of restrictions related to advertising during children's broadcasting brackets.

Basically, the industry wants to pay less and earn more so that it can compete against new digital players that have never had to pay regulatory taxes or spectrum broadcast fees. That's all well and good, but some of the blame for the uncompetitive situation many broadcasters find themselves in needs to sit with the broadcasters themselves.

Australians have been crying out for legal and easy ways to get access to great local content from local vendors, but instead of innovating, local executives simply slammed pirates downloading the content they simply couldn't get access to in Australia as cheapskates and criminals.

If the free-to-air broadcasting industry can innovate a solution to the use of services like Netflix, Telstra and Quickflix, I'm all for them shirking a few tax responsibilities. If it's just a bid to pay less and continue the status-quo, however, they can continue paying through the nose for their mistakes.

Recently, television execs have been talking to different media outlets, slamming both Netflix for accepting Australian credit card payments, and those tunnelling through to the US via a VPN service to use the cheap streaming service.

A new narrative is emerging within the industry, calling those who pay for services like Netflix and Hulu "pirates", despite the fact that these customers are parting with cash for their content. The "logic" behind such a slur comes from a simplistic analysis of the Netflix user agreement that suggests content can't be broadcast outside of the US market. That may be true, but reading it as a black and white issue — pirate or non-pirate — is a mistake: the reality is that the use of VPN services is made up of shades of grey. It hasn't been legally tested in a court, and from the looks of things, it isn't about to be either.

Instead, it's likely an attempt by certain TV executives to pre-empt future industry decisions about the use of said VPN services to get access to higher quality platforms before local competitors are ready. Don't be surprised: it's just the latest tactic in the war for your content dollars.

Read the full submission here.


Comments

    Funny how now they want to play catch up. Should of happened 10 years ago.

    Last edited 05/03/14 1:13 pm

      10 years ago (or was it 14?) those same tv execs drew a line in the sand and said "Fuck it, original content is too expensive to make, so we'll just make local versions of foreign reality tv shows", they cant have it both ways

      Last edited 05/03/14 6:53 pm

      The age of entitlement is over... For the major networks that failed time and time again to offer any innovation.

        +1

        I don't see how everyone in the country is saying the same thing here, except for the politicians and the networks, who in my opinion, are business partners. As opposed to the govt of the day serving the people. Another example of business interests ahead of the community which they represent. "We must have competition, it drives innovation and efficiency" policy that drives everything of the tea party is in place here. Well we have that , and their business partners are still complaining.

    IF the TPP goes through the government will cop a pasting if it legislates against Netflix/Hulu. At the moment it reminds me of Gerry Harvey's whinging about tax on imported goods because he couldn't keep up with internet sales.

      And now 3 out of 4 internet sales are from local businesses.

    Stop accepting Aussie credit cards? A new business will pop up in the US, happy to pass on the money for you. Of course there will be a fee, but it'll still be cheaper than anything local.

      Like Paypal?

      I haven't signed up to netflix so not sure if this is a legit method of payment to them. Makes sense though :)

        Paypal offers pre-paid mastercard credit cards for those places where normal Paypal is not accepted. So yes, like Paypal.

        Netflix does not accept paypal. You must use a CC and a US address to access it. Everyone from Australia who access it is violating the terms of service that netflix has, although netflix does not enforce it. Lets look at why,

        In a recent article run by Gizmodo, the estimated Australian users of Netflix monthly was around 200,000 people, with new subcribers every day.
        Calculated out, at a minimum it would work out like this.

        200,000 X $7.99 = 15.98 Million dollars a month in revunue!

        Netflix isn't going to enforce the TOS unless there told to do so by the US government.

        In the end, if FTA Australia wants to compete on the global market, they need to learn and adapt to the changing consumer marketplace.

        Stop bitching about it and provide us with quailty, cheap programming.

          Two things...Netflix accepts Paypal with a US address. Or you can use Paypal and Ebay to buy a netflix gift card and then use that to pay. Or you can use Entropay or something similar.

          Secondly, you might want to check your maths. 200,000 x 7.99 is $1,598,000. You added an extra zero. Still nothing to sneeze at but nowhere near as lucrative as you say it is.

          Last edited 05/03/14 2:43 pm

            Sorry, yeah I accidently added a zero in my sums. I was unaware that Netflix accepted PayPal. Good to know.

          agree with @racka

          - Netflix accepts paypal
          -your maths sucks
          -there is no violation. the Australian user is not accessing Netflix, but a VPN. Netflix has no rules against VPN's. it is very easy to set up a Netflix account without lying.

          long story short, you're wrong. Netflix has 40.4 million subscribers, $323 million a month or just short of $4 billion a year.... so yeah that $19.2 million annually from Oz making up .005% of their income means jacksh*t

          also the US government doesn't give jack nor siht about Netflix's geo transmissions zone, this comes from the ISP's such as Comcast and others.

          Last edited 05/03/14 3:15 pm

            So giving a false billing address isn't against their terms of service(same with PayPal in order to have a US PayPal account).

            Last edited 05/03/14 3:50 pm

              From memory, you don't need a US billing address to sign up. You need to enter your full postcode, which is just your postcode with a 0 in front of it, e.g. 02035, since the zip/postcode field wants a 5 digit number.

              This is how I signed up last year, to try it out in June last year, anyway. I ditched it after the first trial month because there wasn't much new content.

                You need to have a US PayPal account in order for Netflix to accept PayPal as a payment method. How many times does this have to be repeated?

          I access Netflix through the UK, paid for with a UK iTunes account loaded with UK iTunes vouchers purchased on the webz. No credit card required.

          Their refusal to accept non US addresses is why more Netflix subscribers have the postcode 90210 than people that live in the actual postcode. since its the only US postcode most Australians can pull of the top of their head.

            Or why not do what I did... You can put an 0 infront of your postcode and get it accepted.

            Eg 05043 for some places in Adelaide

          I'm pretty sure we signed a free trade agreement with the us, to open up markets to both our countries. Or was that just a con job for something else? If we do have a free trade agreement between our countries it is implicit that there should not be trade restrictions between the two countries. Apologies if I am missing something here.

        Australian credit cards work fine as long as you provide a US address.

        Netflix and Hulu only accept credit card payments, not PayPal.

          You might want to tell Netflix that they don't take Paypal. They seem to think they do.

          https://help.netflix.com/en/node/367

          Last edited 06/03/14 7:57 am

            They take it, but it doesn't work for us.

            I signed up two nights ago and had to use my CC.

              you signed up your PayPal with an Australian address.

                I also have a US address listed on my account, however I couldn't make it my HOME one while processing the transaction.

                Maybe I was just doing something wrong.

      probably not so good for ausslies living or travelling regularly abroad... I doubt they'd do this, & yes there would surely be ways around (buy a US prepaid visa card?)

        Exactly, I spent more than half of last year in the US, so saying I shouldn't be able to use my AUS CC, is rather stupid by the people suggesting it should be blocked.

          But without your insignificant sacrifice, how else will they maintain the artificial barriers that keep them able to exploit different regions' markets? Won't somebody PLEASE think of the corporations!

      Just use your local debit card - NOT a credit card -- its accepted by Netflix

    Free-to-air broadcasters also want out-dated regulation removed like the rule that requires main channels to be broadcast in standard definition rather than HD

    That one I can definitely get behind

      And then they will want more bandwidth and subsidies for upgrading infrastructure to cope. They chose to keep this SD while they have had the HD option for years. There is a reason that Australia is the only country that views 576p as HD.
      Like everything else, Offering HD content, fast tracked shows, innovative, unique and entertaining local content, was all things they could have started a decade ago.

        All i can say is I feel sorry for those in areas with internet too slow to even stream.

          I feel sorry for us too

        "There is a reason that Australia is the only country that views 576p as HD."

        True and it's not just 576p, but in the case of the public broadcasters - any old crappy SD picture up-converted to 720p/1080i is enough to meet their obligations. What's ridiculous is that the upscaling they do from for the "HD" channel is worse picture quality than the up-scaling you'll find in pretty much all 1080p TVs.

        This one is not actually the fault of the free to air TV channels though.

        You have John Howard to thank for that one. Legislation brought in with the introduction of digital TV FORCED the FTA stations to keep their main channels SD only, they could have one HD channel only and they were legislative restricted as to what they could use it for.

        This was all done to protect Foxtel who (as you can imagine) didn't like the idea of digital multi-channelling on free to air networks one little bit.

        Yes I agree the FTA networks have done a lot of things wrong in the past, but main channels being SD only is definitely not their fault.

      It's a good idea, but i'm not sure it will happen.

      Were the govt funded set top boxes for pensioners HD?

        Yes they where.

      YES! The only time I EVER watch TV is for the cricket. Why isn't it HD when the repeats on the second tier channels are in HD :(

    Yarr, a pirates life for me then.

    I'd rather be a pirate than to give my money to Foxtel.

      Too true. And we don't have to put up with ads either.

      Same here. Well half-pirate, I use netflix, and spotify premium as well as download content that we can't access here.

      Oh well, they'll learn someday. Meanwhile we'll be enjoying those free BRRips and DVD screeners with no ads that are easy as piss to find!

      Considering buying content from JB Hifi now makes me a pirate I guess I'm one too.

      Maybe they can have the definition changed so pirate simply means you don't give them money.

    Have Aussie TV networks ever, ever done anything to deserve a leg up from the Australian people?

    On which 6pm news service would I see this story featured i wonder? Maybe ABC but it would still be surreal.

    I actually prefer a hybrid of netflix, BBC iplayer, foxtel & FTA. Each has their pluses and minuses. I went completely off terrestrial for about the last year, but last weekend bought a HDD-toting set top box. There are stacks of reasons, but the primary one is actually convienence.

    The STB can record the FTA shows i like to watch (Neighbours, MKR for example) and if i miss an episode and want to watch on my way to work the next day, I can just transfer the file to my phone over wifi.

    Which will be the first FTA broadcaster to go IP only and stop broadcasting? The short favourite would have to be the TEN network (as they are the ones losing the most at the moment).

    Last edited 05/03/14 1:46 pm

    anything with a fixed content schedule has already lost the war in my opinion (including FTA, foxtel). The future is about what I want, on demand.

      This is exactly right - What i want, whenever i want it.

    I refuse to watch free to air because it is essentially rehashed reality TV. Make quality original content and stop relying on so much American content. Make free to air worth watching, don't get annoyed that the public has found a better, more convenient way to get content.

      i dont mind them relying on american content for non-reality show ideas - local remakes can be as good as or better than original if done right. i just hate how tv stations see dollar signs with reality bullshit that involves money from voting by calling a premium number.

        Then maybe have more stringent rules regarding content. Each station must play a minimum of 3 hours per day of Australian content per state or territory.. That would grow the buisiness Australia wide?

    I have Foxtel, and I've only kept it on the appease others in my household. Parting with $70 a month for content on Foxtel's terms really gives me the shits.

    I also subscribe to Netflix/Hulu, and gladly pay for a VPN for such access such content, on my terms. Australia needs to catch up to the rest of the world as far as access goes (don't even start me on the LNP/NBN clusterf*&k debacle.

    Its pretty pathetic that Government and FTA networks/advertisers are having a whinge, they have had it too good for too long. Time to listen to the consumer and not Murdoch et al.

    Well, I guess I'll continue to abstain from television, then. Not an option for everyone, I realise, but I have too little free time and too many media already vying for my attention to be too concerned over the loss of scheduled programming.

    Last edited 05/03/14 2:26 pm

    I'm completely old school (comes from being old I guess). I only watch FTA TV. I refuse to sign up to Foxtel and wouldn't know the first thing about torrents or downloads. The thing is, I'm not interested in Game of Thrones, Breaking Bad, the Walking Dead or any similar shows. Am I missing out on something? No I'm not. You can't miss something you've never had and I'm not one to give in to peer pressure or watercooler oneupmanship.

    I'll watch what is available. If there's nothing on I like, I usually have something recorded I can fall back on. I don't even mind the ads. I respect that it's them that allow me to watch these shows for free. Again, it's old school thinking but it works perfectly well for me.

      The thing is, outside of gizmodo geek circles, the 97% of the population who watch live FTA TV feel the same way you do.

      Well said and what a great comment.

      Source on that 97% figure: http://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/getmedia/357e6ee2-55a7-4689-93d4-57b46350ce09/Rpt_AudiencePack.pdf

      *edit* More recent stats here:
      http://www.tvtonight.com.au/2013/09/audience-inventory-2013-free-to-air-results.html

      I have trouble believing that 75% of the population use torrents, I just don't believe it.

      PS - the "watercooler oneupmanship" read: in office TV discussion, is all about My Kitchen Rules these past couple of weeks in my workplace.

      I happen to think the show is very entertaining and last I checked, I'm not brain dead.

      Last edited 05/03/14 2:40 pm

        Guess what, most of Australia thinks that brutalising desperate people in contravention of international is a good idea, so it's no suprise that the majority of Australians are mouth-breathers who enjoy the trash put on by channel 7.

        Congratulations, you enjoy idiotic, lowest common denominator programming

          Completely unrelated to this subject, but in relation to the boat people:
          a) they are here illegally
          b) we offer them a fair bit of luxury compared to the refugee camps in many other parts of the world (i'd like to see how these international conventions you speak of stack up in north asia, the middle east, and so on)
          c) If they don't like it, they should be telling their mates so that stupid people (despite how desperate they may be) don't pay their entire life savings to people smugglers.
          d) our economy cannot possibly support an influx of people who are told by our government that they cannot work for at least 2 years (those who are accepted as legitimate refugees and not terrorists in training) - they have to be able to live so how do you think they do that? 2 sources: taxpayers or illegal cash in hand employment (which takes legitimate jobs out of the economy)

          Last edited 05/03/14 5:22 pm

            I don't know where you thought the mark was with these wildly outdated ideas, but it's certainly not here.

            Last edited 05/03/14 7:35 pm

              Then reality must be outdated then because @jjcoolaus is bang on the money.

              As I said before, this nation has the right to authenticate illegal asylum seekers (they come here through illegal means thus it is right to call them illegal) and then decided if their is enough validity to let them onto the mainland.

              If we did the authentication on the mainland, those who are found to economic and even criminal refugees can use the old various legal loop holes to stay here.

              See case in point, if a illegal refugees comes to the mainland and is found to be someone who committed murder in another country what do you think happens?

              Here's a hint, often we're stuck with such a person because we *CAN'T* send him or her back.

              Last edited 06/03/14 9:20 am

            a) they are not here illegally. this is a fallacy perpetuated by the abbot government. they are asylum seekers until proven otherwise. having offshore processing centers is one thing, calling them all illegal is a complete fabrication that the coaltion trumpets at every opportunity.
            https://www.refugeecouncil.org.au/f/myth-long.php

            Last edited 05/03/14 10:40 pm

              They come here illegally so yes they are illegal.

              Seeking asylum may not be illegal but the method they use to arrive here is thus making them illegal asylum seekers.

              And this nation, like others, has every right to authenticate their claims before letting said persons on the main land.

              After authentication the person will turn out to be one of three *REAL* categories.
              * Legitimate Asylum Seekers (they are coming to escape a hostile environment),
              * Economic Refugee (they are escaping no threat and are coming here just to better themselves financially yet claim to be an asylum seeker so gain access to the support services)
              * Criminal Refugees (those who commit crimes like rape and murder, find they face the death penalty and come here to escape their penalty).

              If you come to any country outside legal channels, the receiving country has every right to authenticate your claim and if need be perform the authentication off shore.

              The UN is all good at writing conventions but be damned if they ever lift a finger to being proactive in addressing problems as they occur. Best way to describe the UN: yet another toothless tiger.

              calling them all illegal is a complete fabrication that the coaltion trumpets at every opportunity.

              No, that itself is a fallacy.

              Last edited 06/03/14 9:26 am

                They come here illegally so yes they are illegal.

                nope. if you'd bothered to read the link:

                The UN Refugee Convention (to which Australia is a signatory) recognises that refugees have a right to enter a country for the purposes of seeking asylum, regardless of how they arrive or whether they hold valid travel or identity documents. The Convention stipulates that what would usually be considered as illegal actions (e.g. entering a country without a visa) should not be treated as illegal if a person is seeking asylum. This means that it is incorrect to refer to asylum seekers who arrive without authorisation as “illegal”, as they in fact have a right to enter Australia to seek asylum.

                  I did read the link. Just because my claim counters yours does not mean I read it. It just means it has no effect.

                  The phrase used is "should not". That does not make it mandatory thus my claim still stands firm.

                  This means that it is incorrect to refer to asylum seekers who arrive without authorisation as “illegal”, as they in fact have a right to enter Australia to seek asylum.

                  Actually no, it the governing body that decides. And like any other country, Australia has the right to verify that a person is indeed a legitimate Asylum seeker and not a fraud.

                  That is where you quoted passage fails. It only looks at the arrival aspect, it does not consider the means of arrival.

                  Like any other country, Australia welcomes "legal" refugees who come to use via legal measures. If one comes via boat by means of a people smuggler then the person is an illegal refuge and the term is 110% correct and Australia has the right to process the said person off shore if need be so if found to be false the illegal refugee can be sent back and not utilise loop holes to fight extradition back.

                  Short version: if one arrives by boat then the Government has the right and duty to decide if that person is welcome. Not the bleeding hearts who demand their arrival to the mainland without question.

                  Last edited 06/03/14 5:44 pm

                  stupid depth of replies.
                  should not in a legal sense is not the same as a literal sense. you should not kill is a law. if you do it or not does not change the law. should not in this sense does not mean you have a choice on how you treat them.

                  @zen: The law is about interpretation. Not justice.

                  Irrespective, my interpretation does not distract from the poor scope of the passage you shared.

                  The Australian Authorities have a duty to authenticate refugees and also have the right to keep them off the shores so frauds do not take advantage of the loop holes.

                  This is a country, not a shelter. And if one gets here via a smuggler, that arrival is illegal. And the Authorities have a duty to make sure a person claiming asylum is indeed an asylum seeker.

                  Either way, this discussion is way off topic and had gone on long enough. This is the last I am saying about the matter.

                  Last edited 06/03/14 8:39 pm

                  @wisehacker - think what you want. doesnt change the international conventions we agree to uphold. i hope there is international fallout from this abuse of human rights - your claim of illegal refugee being a 110% correct term shows how little you know, or how well the propaganda has taken hold.

                  and thats the last i will say on this matter as well.

                  @zen: Back here because you have made come claims about me that will not go unnoticed and are unfounded.

                  You claim propaganda, is that what you resort to when someone runs a opinion counter to yours even when the facts are there?

                  And your wishing for an internationally fallout, are you implying that the rights of a refugee override the rights of one who comes here via legal means and with papers? Further to that matter, are you also implying the rights of a refugees well being overrides this nation's right to decides who stays here? I hope not.

                  Your are welcome to your opinion, Zen, but be very careful with what you say. I (for one) have looked at the whole complete picture and not just the refugee side of the matter.

                  And I be extremely careful before you make that unfounded propaganda comment again. Because the next person you try to put that label on might not be as tolerant as I am.

                  From here on out in any other thread, if you have something to say, keep it to the discussion. Do not go making personal attacks such as claiming I am a product of propaganda. If you can't continue a discussion without personal attacks, walk away and don't even bother replying.

                  Last edited 07/03/14 8:58 am

                edit - obligatory

                http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/duty_calls.png

                Last edited 07/03/14 10:00 am

      Yeah, I'm starting to think this way. I use to pirate TV shows, but then I got Netflix and I don't pirate anything now. Other family members still do. I still watch FTA TV. But the last 5 years I have seen a real slip in their programming. Stop with all the repeats. They have catch up services, why not use them? I just like having another option that allows me to watch what I want.

    I buy things online from overseas ignoring overpriced Australian retailers.

    I'm a pirate woo!

    Last edited 05/03/14 2:29 pm

      Yargh! Welcome aboard the good ship, SmartShopper!

      Tis a tight squeeze though, lad. The good ship is home to three quarters of Australia....

      Woo hoo you're costing Australians jobs! hope that makes you feel good!

        Sorry but being charged an extra $500-$1000 for something to save a persons job is not on my list of things to do.

          As someone with actual first hand knowledge of how things work it is your problem.

          Case in point, I run a medical device business, now you can go online and buy said goods from America for several hundred dollars less than I can buy it for wholesale here in Australia (and it's made in Australia). And as it is a medical device and covered by the TGA, I am not allowed to buy it at these cheaper prices myself then on sell it as it has not passed TGA approval to be sold in Australia. And yes we provide a service and that's where the extra dollars are designed to help cover the costs.

          But man retail is tough out there, and before some keyboard warrior says "well if you business can't afford to operate it's a sh*t business and you should close up" just remember if every business shuts the whole economy shuts down too.

          Online shopping is great but remember every dollar you spend overseas is not paying for someone to have a job here in this country.

            Except in the Customs Department and Logistics Department who screen the package and deliver it to your door.

            just remember if every business shuts the whole economy shuts down too.

            And the businesses will have themselves to blame for making themselves extinct and for not considering us local consumers and the staff they hire.

            It is not our problem if shops closes because we send our dollars elsewhere, it is a fault with the business for not offering local consumers a solid justification for their goods.

            Online shopping is great but remember every dollar you spend overseas is not paying for someone to have a job here in this country.

            Again, not our problem. If the business treats the consumer with contempt then the consumer has every right to take his or her business elsewhere. If jobs are lost, that is the fault of the business and not the consumer.

            Similar versions of what you say have been tried before in terms of the used game market. They fell flat there and are just as flat here.

            In theory, these overseas online competitors shouldn't be supplying the medical devices in Australia if they are not on the ARTG, so you're talking about people that are operating outside Australian law.

            The problem with that reasoning is that it holds back the development of new industries or the evolution of existing ones. If we'd held back on automobiles because of what it did to the buggy-cart industry (and believe there were significant efforts made lobbying to do just that), there'd be a lot less money sloshing around.

            Now maybe you're a luddite who thinks that technology has advanced too fast and shouldn't be embraced at every turn, with businesses adapting to market pressures instead of trying to force the markets to adhere to their best interests by lobbying governments into legislation.... and if so, we're pretty much done here, coming from entirely opposite points of view.

            But the crux is this: adapt and survive or die. These guys are desperate not to have to adapt, and are using any means possible to keep the industry stagnant as long as they can, but they're only successfully doing it in this corner of the world; a world which is becoming globalized, so we're well aware of what they're doing.

            i recently bought titanfall + season pass for $50 on the origin mexico store which is practically half the price of ebgames $90 asking price without the season pass. the origin au store is $80 and $100 with season pass.

            i cant say i've needed to buy expensive medical equipment so the comparisons are quite different but i hardly think the few hundred i spend online overseas is enough to shut down the whole economy. the expenses i pay locally - groceries, petrol, insurance, and leisure activities like dining out and cinema are way more expensive than anything i buy online.

            also in your case, buying locally ensures warranty which probably the most important aspect when buying medical equipment?

            the real issue is old business models and price gouging because we live in Australia.

        Don't start. If Australian jobs are lost it is the business at fault for not trying to keep our interests.

          Probably the first time i agree with you.

          Damn right. Horse cart builders might have complained that cars were ruining their business, but it's not our job to live in the past just because we don't use their product any more.

        No, their bosses and their bosses on top of them are costing them those jobs. They should have been in on the whole streaming thing many, many years ago. The media should have been pushing all governments to improve the infrastructure (NBN) and embraced that technology. Not sub-par apps, with sub-par programming in sub-par resolution.

        Well the whole point is that it wouldn't be costing Australian jobs if it were done right. I don't want to see job's going overseas at all, but I do want to see proper and decent and accessible content within Australia.

        If it's $500 cheaper for me to buy an Australian made product and have it shipped from Texas with 3-5 day shipping, as opposed to 3-4 weeks, that Australian who I just priced out of a job didn't deserve one for being so inefficient!

          Why don't we skip the whole facade of even buying the product in the first place and just donate money to all the people who we're supposed to be keeping in jobs that don't do shit for us?

            I just still can't comprehend that it's that much cheaper and quicker to have a sports radiator made in Queensland, shipped to Texas, then shipped back to Canberra, than it is to buy the damn thing from Queensland. No suppliers in Aus ever seem to have stock and always have a huge lead time. Aussies' can't expect other Aussies to keep them in business, if they're so insistent on ripping them off.

    A little off topic, but why is the guy in the picture so happy that his analogue feed has been switched off ? Probably paid $30k for his analogue Plasma back in 2001, he should be fuming. Also, where are his socks..... put some socks on dude.

      How can you tell its an analogue TV?

      Why can't it be a regular digital plasma?

        It's easy, there is no picture on the screen.

          Actually it's a new device I made called the C-Chip. It's like the V-Chip (planned for violence filtering) but filters out crap TV.

          Needless to say, sales have been bad because virtually nothing is getting through besides sports, some comedies and cartoons from the 80s and 90s.

          Last edited 05/03/14 10:18 pm

    It's not really piracy. More like smuggling. Though then they'd have to re-educate the non tech savvy masses as to why another usually non electronic related word is now bad.

    Maybe I'm missing something, but isn't what they're asking for basically relaxed regulations? That's something I can certainly support as long as they don't become anti-competitive, and it's a whole lot more 'fair play' than trying to get Netflix to reject Australian credit cards.

      Agreed. By all means, fix the system. Millions of yanks have cable TV and still use services like Netflix and Hulu. If The US cable suits have no problem with that, then why dose the Aussie tv suits do?

    I stopped watching free-to-air TV in Australia long ago; the number of advertisements just sucked all the enjoyment and "suspension of belief" out of the programs. I do access programs via VPN as the ads remain but they are American ads, just as distracting and completely irrelevant. I buy programs I like on DVD when they are released in Australia. This way I can watch them without ads, and without breaking any laws.

    If someone were to say that the DVDs could be cheaper I'd agree with them but even FTA is not free as an hour of TV wastes about a quarter hour of my time and I am not willing to sacrifice that much time every hour of the evening to material that I regard as utterly useless and worse.

    dear malcolm
    please tell the dinosaurs that unless you improve you die out. the weavers in the pre industrial revolution complained the same about steam powered weaving machines. the music industry complained about the the online distubution of music. evolve or die its not just a rule of life its a business rule. right now the old style TV is behind the times unless they improve they will vanish just like all the other old time technology. they are concerned about their bottom dollar but are too short sighted to see what is obvious to everyone else.
    sincerly
    everyone else who can see the forest

    Last edited 05/03/14 3:28 pm

    "home of high quality free content, especially news... "
    ??
    TV news (on commercial networks) is atrocious and certainly not even remotely high quality! And just about the only high quality content on Commercial FTA TV are some of the Ads!

    Fuck the TV stations, they aren't even interested in entertaining you.
    I give an example, when a (usually reality) TV show is a hit like Master Chef or Australian Idol the other stations release copycat shows like My Kitchen Rules or the Voice Etc. these are not made to be competitive but to "spoil" the original hit show and flood the market and make people lose interest in the original show.

    So what you get is endless intentionally sub-par reality shows, and they wonder why they are losing viewers.

      I think you'll find that MKR is consistently the most watched show on TV, every week.

      Channel 7 must be doing something right.

      Plus I cannot see any similarity what so ever between the 2 series, apart from the fact they are both cooking shows.

      I also can't relate to the idea that you can't take a product and improve on it, since that's what happens in consumer technology all the time (and you must have an interest, or else you wouldn't be reading gizmodo)

      You are a somewhat off the mark.

      I work for one of those disrespecting tv stations you obviously know so much about. I spend my life bending over backwards to have a few extra thousand viewers watch our shows.... guess why. So we can gain money for advertising to to produce and purchase more content to entertain the masses, rinse and repeat.

      I'm not in a position of any power but rather work for the machine. I don't tell you i agree with everything that goes on or that tv stations don't want to make money as they are a business after all.

      I'd like it if everything was in hd, id like it if all the catch up services were better. I'd love it if a direct from the US show was played at the same time and i'd love it if we had better content.

      But guess what boomboom it all costs money. Money that comes from advertising that everyone hates...... how do you get advertising dollars? by proving to advertiser's that you have a big enough audience to make their purchase of advertising worth while.

      So if you think tv stations copy other shows to dilute the show you are a simple minded fool. That's like saying powerade only exists to make gatorade not as good..... no they are trying to make money off a similar/same idea.

      Last edited 06/03/14 12:26 pm

    I'm a geo-block dodger and all I can say is:

    \o/ FREE MARKET \o/

    Compete or go home and cry.........

    I'm a heavy user of ABC iView as more often than not I'm unavailable at the times my favourite shows air. Only in the last month or so I have started to regularly use the commercial FTA's catch up services. I don't know about the rest of you but I can't see the "heavy investment" the commercial stations lay claim to be spending. The services aren't as smooth and slick as the ABC's service often leading to frustration as how badly the service runs when it does. Eg why does the show play around 5 seconds of show after the insert commercial point starts. When it finishes its commercial break that 5 seconds isn't replayed. Maybe it's a challenge faced by inserting ads but breaks my attention and the continuity of the show. I also have good Adsl speed and reliability but the last couple of times I have watched quality drops in and out. These might be small issues but I have never encountered them on ABC.

    It would seem Australian businesses have begun to replace the old saying 'If you can't beat them, Join them' with 'If you can't beat them, Legislate against them'.

    Last edited 05/03/14 4:02 pm

      why does the show play around 5 seconds of show after the insert commercial point starts.

      That is so irritating! If SBS and ABC can provide decent catch up/on-demand services, why can't the commercial broadcasters?

    Got rid of Netflix and hulu plus months ago when I got my 100/40 NBN and worked how how to use XBMC to stream.

      There is a SBS On demand plugin for XBMC.. but its not all that fantastic.

      to stream movies and TV? nevi?

    Never really understood the anti-establishment rhetoric people have on tech sites. I find the submission a positive step forward for free to air TV (with reservations about relaxing child programming ad restrictions). What is the issue with FTA? I pay for access by watching ads. There is enough on to keep the majority of people switching on. I don't need to pay to watch sports. They have catchup services...
    When it comes to these kinds of issues (including piracy), the noisy VPN-using-illegal-Netflix-ing-high-bandwidth junkies really ramp up their "give it to me when I want no ads" stuff to make it seem like a more general "issue". But to be honest, most people I know and interact with use only FTA services.
    The submission would enable further competitive FTA services into the mix. How is that a detriment?

      Not everyone wants FTA programming/irrelevant advertising and some of us are willing to pay to get access to programming that suits us. Its great that you can stand FTA tv but why should that effect those of us looking for (and willing to pay for) some different service?

      EDIT: doesn't really warrant a response I know.

      Last edited 05/03/14 4:42 pm

        I don't think story or my comments relate to affecting people with other services.
        The whole point of this story is that local FTA service providers can be freed from content control schemes so that they can compete/provide netflix-like services.
        I mean, the worst that could happen out of this is that netflix etc will see the market and locally release, right?

      I'm fine with commercials (provided I'm not paying to watch) but the overall service sucks on free-to-air. Even with the expansions they've made the alternatives are significantly better on every single front.
      When it comes to TV piracy there's a huge chunk of people who aren't looking to rip anyone off or short change the content creators. I'd say most TV pirates fall into that category or at least aren't financially motivated to pirate. Sure there are plenty of people who will never pay for TV and refuse to watch it with ads, but a lot of them are quite reasonable and just find themselves backed into a corner where their options are Foxtel's aggressively expensive service, free-to-air's crappy service and piracy's extremely convenient service.
      That's where Netflix managed to find a market. After all Netflix thrives because enough people are willing to pay for what they watch as long as it's on more agreeable terms. It's a bit hard to say someone is only looking for a free lunch when they're willing to not just go out of their way to pay for it, but willing to pay additional money for a VPN service to make payment possible. Pretty much anyone who can setup a VPN can get everything Netflix offers for free with far less hassle.
      They're definitely contributing more to the content creators and distribution networks they use than you are by watching ads, and they're doing it even though they don't have to. If you like free-to-air fair enough, but a lot of us don't and while this may not be black and white legal it is guilt free and the best alternative on the table.

      That said I do agree with you that the proposal seems fairly positive (aside from the ads during children's programming stuff).

    While some of the things they're asking for a quite reasonable the level playing field they want won't help them. There's no dodging this bullet. They've been working towards making themselves irrelevant for decades, and now they've got to face the grim reality that they've been almost completely replaced.

    If they managed to magically remove every other way to watch TV, from piracy to iTunes to DVD box sets, I still wouldn't go to Foxtel or Australian free-to-air. TV has never aimed high and trends constantly came in and out of fashion, but it used to be somewhat diverse. Twenty different flavours of garbage. They've spent most of this century slowly reducing the variety of programs they produce down to almost nothing but ultra low budget gossip porn, and even before that they were steadily reducing their role in television down to just being the middle men between the Australian audience and American TV.

    I'm willing to go out of my way to watch about five shows currently on the air (globally, none of them are Australian). There's probably a dozen if you include shows I watch because I can but don't care if I get behind on. That's over the course of a year too, so it doesn't even add up to a show a day.
    If it comes down to it and they force me to go to their networks to watch them on their terms/schedule, I'll probably go play Nintendo or browse the internet. Even if those terms are relatively good. This isn't the 80's. Our entertainment options have blown wide open over the past few decades while television, Australian television in particular, has lowered itself to the point where I'd actually rather go for a walk or read a book.

    If they want to remove regulations that put them at a disadvantage against other services I'm ok with that, but if all they're doing is making life difficult for their replacement to buy themselves another six months of relevance they can get stuffed.

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