Australia's Biggest Movies Aren't Available As Streaming Rentals

The launch of movies on Google Play means Australians have a wider range of online movie streaming services to choose from than ever. Sadly, that doesn't mean our biggest local movies can be easily accessed. The vast majority of our top-grossing local flicks still aren't available for online viewing to paying customers.

Picture by Patrick Riviere/Getty Images

The table below shows the 10 top-grossing Australian movies of all time in Australia (per this handy list), and whether they are currently available on the four biggest local movie streaming services that offer rentals to casual customers using computers: iTunes, Google Play, BigPond Movies and Quickflix WatchNow. (That criteria excludes Foxtel and FetchTV, which require subscriptions and other gear, and Sony and Microsoft's services, which don't work on Macs.)

I used the search function for each service to check availability — if you can't find a movie this way, it may as well not be listed. In terms of search, Quickflix easily had the best options.

As you can see, the pickings are a little slim. Google's newness definitely plays against it, but Quickflix is just as bad, and even iTunes is missing half the movies on the list. Some titles clearly aren't available to anyone (the two Crocodile Dundee movies), but others have patchy availability. We're a long way from streaming being a substitute for DVD or TV as a movie-viewing option.

Over time, this will probably improve. I did a similar survey of Australian music availability on iTunes at the beginning of 2011, and since then the situation has improved somewhat, with some of the major holdout acts (such as Cold Chisel and INXS) becoming available.

Nonetheless, it's a reminder of the fact that legal digital entertainment services often don't offer a full range of products, and Australian culture is often under-represented. While that often comes down to cutting deals with individual producers, it's a problem that needs solving if we want to cut back on piracy.

Lifehacker's weekly Streaming column looks at how technology is keeping us entertained.


Comments

    i think its worth nothing that this likely not due to poor effort on behalf of the service providers and definitely not a deliberate anti aus act by any, but more a showing of the dinosaur "unwilling to change" movie studios who still dont "get" digital and wont sign deals to allow services to stream them

    Not to worry though, they're all available at your favourite bittorrent tracker.

      +1, it's amazing that they haven't learned anything yet.

    If they really want movie rentals on line to be successful then it should actually be reasonably priced. $7 for a new release is still too expensive - and doesn't compete with "free". The convenience factor is getting there, but they need to be cheaper. Back catalogue stuff should be $1 and new stuff 3 or 4 dollars and it would actually be an attractive option with the convenience outweighing the need to go out of your way for the free but less-than-legal path. Even better, all you can eat option for $10/month like Netflix in the US.

    Maybe the fact that some of those "top-grossing local flicks" haven't aged gracefully hasn't helped (particularly the 'Dundees' - not so much the 'Dish').

    Contractual issues may be a consideration.

    And, even though these services can offer more than a 'Video' store, they may prefer to present movies that Aussies will *want* to watch.

    Just sayin'.

    who cares... australia makes crap movies, tv, and music anyway!

      Ah....hello? What about Neighbours? Sheesh

        well thats one little exception!

    I just went and had a look but the first four movies I tried all told me that "The uploader has not made this video available in your country." Seems they don't like Australia :(
    I know this isn't Youtube's fault but why even list it there for me?
    I won't be going back in a hurry.

    Don't you guys realise anything!??

    They are not available here because they have signed exclusive agreements to protect Aussie jobs. Something think of the Aussie jobs!!!!

    /sarcasm

    BTW, those guys are doing us a favour with some of those movies!!

    In Quickflix's defense they don't have all of their catalog on WatchNow and all of those films are available as DVD rentals on there.

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