One common excuse used by people who download TV shows illicitly is that Australians have to wait too long between when a show is broadcast in the US and the UK and when it's available here. That's going to be a tough line to pull when the second series of Netflix's hit drama House of Cards appears in February.
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TV Tonight reports that Foxtel (which has the local rights for the show) will begin broadcasting the second series on its Showcase channel on 15 February. That's the same day as its US debut; it starts on 14 February on Netflix, but the time difference means that's 15 February here.
Foxtel is also making the entire series available on demand, so you can binge on Kevin Spacey and his cronies if you wish the second the show starts. Under those circumstances, it's quite hard to claim that we're being hard-done by. We can watch the show here the same way a US resident can watch it on Netflix.
Yes, I can already hear the screaming from here. Foxtel is too expensive, you cry. I'd happily pay a Netflix-style price for unlimited easy access to everything ever made, but I don't want to pay all that extra for stuff I won't watch. My response? That just leads us into an endless cycle of self-justification. Whatever you want to charge, someone will think it is too much.
We're not talking about an essential service here. We're talking about entertainment. I don't doubt that if the much-rumoured launch of Netflix happens in Australia and it matches the US pricing and breadth of content, Foxtel would be in deep trouble. But it hasn't happened yet.
I don't expect that will stop many people hitting the torrents or the dubious streaming sites when House Of Cards returns. Ditto for Game Of Thrones, The Walking Dead and anything else you care to name. But those shows aren't going to pay for themselves.
Returning: House Of Cards [TV Tonight]
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