I stream, you stream, we all stream illegally

Written by Brendan Wrigley

The crowding of the Australian online streaming market is set to intensify in September as Telstra launches its newest service, Telstra TV.

The service will seek to deliver a more holistic product for the consumer by allowing access to a number of different streaming services.

But similar services charge up to $100 AUD in the UK and the US, compared to around $10 a month for a standard Netflix subscription, and the rate at which this will curb online piracy remains to be seen.

Justin, 20, is a current subscriber to Netflix who continues to illegally download content not available on the service.

He said he’d believed Netflix would provide “everything and anything” he wanted, but service fell short of his expectations.

“There are things I do watch but (I’m) looking elsewhere to cover everything.”

Despite the plethora of streaming services, including Stan, Netflix and Presto, Australians remain some of the most regular viewers of illegal content.

In April 2014 the premiere of the fourth season of “Game of Thrones” was illegally shared more than one million times in half a day. Australians made up more than 11 per cent of this number, despite Foxtel’s streaming service showing the series on delay.

Justin said paying for all of the content he currently viewed was unsustainable.

“By the time I subscribe to two or three different streaming channels I’m paying $20 or $30 (a month), which pushes me back towards illegally downloading.”

Netflix is clearly the most popular of the streaming services, with more than 10 per cent of Australian households accessing the service since its Australian release in March, according to data released by Roy Morgan.

Lecturer in digital media at Victoria University, Mark C Scott, said people illegally downloading programs was inevitable, but that’s not to say the same consumers are not paying for the content in some form.

“There will probably still be people who go and stream because they want it straight away,” he said.

“But we can’t just say that because that person has pirated content or gained access to it illegally, that they’re not also paying for a service.”

Mr Scott said no streaming service is able to deliver all of the programs consumers wish to view, and as such some consumers will resort to illegal activity.

“There’s not a ‘one service fits all’,” he said.

“There will be people still pirating who have access to Netflix or Stan or Presto.”

Justin agreed, and said he and many of his peers continued to illegally download despite subscribing to streaming services.

“If I can’t get everything in one spot, and for one subscription fee, I’m going to go elsewhere, and that elsewhere is illegal downloading services.”

About the author

Brendan Wrigley