Are Australians Being Rorted By Online Movie Services? [Infographic]

A CHOICE investigation into video streaming services has found what most of us already know: Australians are paying more money, have fewer choice and less flexibility than other overseas markets when it comes to online movies and TV shows.

According to CHOICE, Australian customers are being treated like "second class citizens" when it comes to accessing movies and television shows via online entertainment services.

“Netflix in the US costs only US$7.99 per month and features a hit-parade of shows including Breaking Bad, The Walking Dead, House of Cards and Arrested Development,” CHOICE's director of campaigns and communications Matt Levey said in a statement.

“In Australia, Quickflix subscription costs range from AU$15 to AU$35 per month and you pay extra to watch some movies and TV shows. Also, it uses DVDs for new release movies, while Foxtel charges AU$72 per month.”

MORE: • Streaming In Australia: Range And Regions Mean We're Rooted

We feel it's worth noting that the Quickflix comparison isn't particularly fair — the addition of DVD rentals would be considered beneficial to many consumers and the equivalent service from Netflix carries an additional fee which makes the prices roughly comparable. There's no arguing with Quickflix's limited content library and plan flexibility, however.

“It’s little wonder that Australian consumers are using free browser plugins such as Media Hint and Hola to access Netflix in the United States,” Levey said.

“We encourage consumers to get around so-called ‘geo-blocks’ to pay for legitimate content, but you need to do your due diligence.”

Below is an infographic produced by CHOICE comparing Quickflix and Foxtel to the American streaming service Netflix:

See also: The Lifehacker Guide To Streaming Blocked Overseas Content | Australia's Best (Legal) Online Movie Services


Comments

    I switched to Netflix earlier in the year and I love it! Though to be fair, Foxtel has Friends and Big Bang Theory (and I'm sure others) that Netflix does not have.

    Last edited 03/07/13 10:48 am

      Not getting reruns of Friends and Big Bang Theory doesn't sound like much of a loss to me.
      Plus, Nine has Friends in 1080i.

        I'm pretty sure the Nine Network is basically just Big Bang reruns these days anyway.

    Hold the phone.

    Step one: Don’t play by their rules
    Have a look at the services which enable Australian consumers to access blocked websites overseas.

    Choice is recommending we do this? I thought the law on this was still a bit of a gray area, it's a bit surprising that choice recommends you blatantly disregard the terms and conditions of companies providing services. (Don't get me wrong, I do it!)

    Last edited 03/07/13 10:59 am

      i think that its more choice's way of giving the middle finger to the services available by saying "do everything possible to get access to the superior international options" the first draft probably just said "pirate it" but a lawyer said no

      It's not against the law in Australia, but it is against the Ts & Cs of the service. So in theory Netflix could take issue with you spending your money with them.

      Don't expect them to be breaking down your door any time soon.

        ie - we have a free trade agreement with the US and IF netflix wanted to they could easily allow us to access their service at the same cost. Netflix knows if they provide a service to Australia with a geoblock for the home service that they can charge more so in the T&C's they prevent the free trade agreement from being enacted. ......so they think I'm Stuart from New Jersey and we watch our shows from my home here.

          I don't think Free Trade Agreements work that way. They are designed more so for commodities, imports/exports etc.

          The issue here is TV studios charging exorbidant amounts to license shows to be aired in other countries. Netflix would have only purchased a license to allow streaming in the US. This could be because of a couple of reasons- either the Studios don't want to enroach on the revenue coming in from Aussie TV channels. Or alternatively, Netflix might have found that Australia doesn't have the volume to make licensing a profitable deal. In my opinion, it's a fair point from both sides- given that both TV Studios and services like Netflix are out to make a profit. That being said, it does suck that we get stuck with inferior service or get ripped off. I have netflix off a VPN and it's brilliant.

          The Terms & Condition only apply to Netflix not being allowed to provide the service outside of the US. If you have a VPN, then it is completely out of their control. It is highly unlikely they're going to ban VPN's given that everyone from major banks to fortune 500 companies use them.

            Actually the FTA with the us covers a whole heap of things including SOME facet of legal precedence and shared trademark laws etc. the big fight over ugh boots is an interesting footnote in this battle.

            There is also general legal precedence when a g20 democracy makes a call that scares big business (see Sony and region locking or the current plain packaging cigarette laws)

          It's got nothing to do with free trade agreements.

          The issue with companies like Netflix and Hulu allowing access to content outside of the US is licencing.
          Put simply, Netflix, Hulu and other content distributors do not hold a license to publish or distribute content outside the United States (or wherever they operate) as such they are required by the terms of the license to restrict content outside of those countries.
          Its similar to television where, for example, a television show may be available to stream through Hulu each week. This is restricted to US customers only as, in Australia for exampe, the license for distribution may be held by Channel Nine or Foxtel.

          IF the license extended outside of the US then it would be a free trade issue if there was a pricing discrepancy.

          Steps to being an awesome internet lawyer
          1. Decide what you want
          2. Take the ordinary English meaning of any random Act and assume it means what you want it to. Definitely don't do any basic research.
          3. Lecture people with your newfound knowledge and position of authority.

          Automatic fail if you have ever taken a single law subject in your life.

          See also: THE PRIVACIES ACT means no one can take a photo of me because privacy!

            I just found a list of alerts I hadn't seen on here and got curious. I was initially quite annoyed at this considering you were being a jerk for no good reason and especially on LH considering the site is generally good natured. Then I read the above and below comments where people politely pointed where I was wrong and showed me respect and good guidance. So after all that I came back her and realised you don't matter, you're a jerk and you have to live with that while I can at least live with the comfort that LH continues to be a great community of respectful peers who are happy to help you when you are wrong and guide you towards better information, even two years later. Jerks on the other hand are so rare on here that you shouldn't let them bait you.

            Wooo, what an emotional ride from discovering some very old alerts. It was down, it was up and now back to neutral.

        Fair call, sir. When you put it that way...

      Choice are pro consumer not pro big business.
      I welcome this announcement - we have become complacent with being overcharged for subscription TV.
      I would rather have Netflix and Hulu at home then be forced to pay for dozens of channels I never watch on Foxtel.

      Last edited 03/07/13 11:27 am

      No, it's not against the law. Netflix terms & conditions dictate you just live in the US (obviously because of their contracts with studios), so they can sue you for violating the terms you agreed to, but that is unlikely.

        Right. So if you live in the US, but happen to be in Australia, then it's totally fine. Sounds like a plan!

    australia is getting rorted in basically all forms of digital content access from a single mp3 to tv shows to full software packages and so far the government inquiry has done nothing but say "oh ok we see" to the questioned companies BS excuses,

    Now granted in the case of streaming services like Netflix there are customer base and infrastructure issues that drive costs up in australia but not to the levels that we are currently seeing.

    Its ridiculous that CHOICE has to tell us to use proxies to get round location barriers and use an international service and yet people wonder why australia has the highest piracy rate of each and every game of thrones episode.

    I also heard on the grapevine once those in charge of content rights in australia are making it incredibly hard for services like itunes, google play and probably netflix, to get decent content, im not sure on the levels of truth in that statement but id be interested to find out

      The crazy thing is that they're shooting themselves in both feet if that's the case.
      1) driving people to piracy
      2) driving the rest to "importing" their content
      Neither option is very hard and the piracy method is by far the most well known and gives the highest quality result! (Netflix quality is acceptable but still pretty poor quality on my connection)

      Of course it's achieved nothing. The Government doesn't regulate prices for goods and services, because we don't live in 1970s USSR.

      The only thing it did is raise Ed Husic's profile and get a bunch of dummies cheering along because they thought they might get cheaper video games and Miley Cyrus albums.

    Bypassing geo-blocking is ridiculously easy. Hell will freeze over before I hand over any of my money to Foxtel for their sub-standard service. Foxtel has deliberately stifled online content delivery in Australia for years, and as the Australian population becomes more tech savvy I hope Foxtel find themselves loosing customers in droves. Maybe then Foxtel will actually start offering services that are competitively priced on an international scale.

    If it wasn't for sport I'd ditch Foxtel in an instant. Some of the sports I watch have legitimate online streaming services - tennis, for example that provide far superior coverage to Foxtel - and the annual cost to both is only equal to about 2.5 months of Foxtel. But other sports, NRL & Netball have terrible legal online options.

    They fail to mention HBO, Showtime et al. shows, which are not covered by Netflix. In the US people still keep cable subscriptions, for a variety of different reasons, much of which don't actually apply here in Australia (we mainly get internet through DSL, where in the US it's very common to get it through/bundled with your cable). Of course Foxtel shows some of these shows so it would be covered off there. There's also varying levels of on-demand access for these shows, in both countries. Usually though you'll be needing a cable subscription.

    This is still the main reason why shows like Game of Thrones top the piracy AND DVD sales charts. Availability.

    Keeping your content in walled gardens doesn't help it, all it does is piss off your potential customers.

    Set up Hola and Hulu the other week. It's buckets of fun. I don't even care that there are (very few) ads- being able to watch Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert over breakfast makes for a good start to the day.

    quickflix is great value for money and the content is ever increasing.
    Above all it's an Australian owned and run company.
    Get behind a local and stop sending our money offshore to the USA.
    This article is a bit misleading and for $14.99 a month you get unlimited streaming on watch now play, unlimited dvds and blu rays one out at a time and of course great new release content on Pay per view and latest hbo content to own via EST. You don't even have to be a member to obtain the electronic sell through content.

    Above all quickflix is on every major device and TV and Blu ray and e readers and Kogan dongles ETC ETC.

    Better value and flexibility you won't find and they are AUSTRALIAN.

      Thanks for your input Quickflix.....p.s your range of content sucks!

        lol

    Infographic?

    Ahh its like infotainment.

    ive got a grain of salt around here somewhere.

    What's a hemlock grove?

    Well netflix is awesome and all but i really wish our download quotas were not so small / big and expensive

      Exclusive to Netflix TV series that is directed by Eli Roth. It's okay, solid viewing.

      They also released another unique IP this week.

      In terms of value. Even in Mexico, Canada and UK they go around geo-blocking to avoid the local offering because it has much less content. I'm not sure Netflix are avoiding Australia more like it isn't worth their time just yet.

      Quickflix is losing a battle they should be winning. If they could get HBO under their streaming plan and not PPV they would be much better value.

    I'm using a service called IbDNS from IbVPN to remap my DNS and stream Netflix and others without the need for a VPN. This means it works nicely with Windows 8's NetFlix app, iPad and iPhone and does not reduce quality like VPN does.
    http://www.ibvpn.com/blog/2013/05/ibdns-network-extended-in-australia/#more-3023
    Both Hola and MediaHint re-route your calls either through idle customers or free proxy servers while ibDns just fakes your location for the DNS check then lets you use your full internet connection for the streaming.
    You can't beat watching Netflix using the official NetFlix app for iPad or W8.

    (I'm not affiliated with them, I just like their service)

      I have the Netflix app on my Galaxy Tablet. Download the apk file for it, then get the Hola app. Simple.

      Won't work for the iPad though.

      Er, you can certainly beat watching NetFlix on an ipad or phone. Like watching it on a TV!

      I know, it's a new radical way of thinking...

    Is that Quickflix an australian arm of the entity that Netflix created? (and I thought cancelled and regrouped?), or some fake?

    We shouldn't have to go out of our way to get a fair price, this is just more from the bottomless pit of proof that we are being overcharged for almost everything and they're getting away with it.

    well, until they fix this, i'll keep Torrenting.

    The torrent channel always win....

    doesn't need vpn either =p

    That is quite a big difference... and I think this infographic is a pretty bold one. Having said that, stating Netflix funded/exclusive content being unavailable elsewhere is a bit misleading as it wouldn't matter how good Foxtel or Quickflix are - they wouldn't have that content.

      Except that Foxtel has the "Netflix Exclusive" House of Cards according to the InfoGraphic...

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