Prices For Renting Digital Movies Compared: Allegedly, Australia’s The Cheapest

Prices For Renting Digital Movies Compared: Allegedly, Australia’s The Cheapest

How much Australians pay for digital media is a perennial sore point. One new study suggests that when it comes to renting new release movies online, we’re actually amongst the cheapest.

Picture: Getty Images

A comparison by the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association (AHEDA) suggests that when you compare the prices for renting new releases, Australia doesn’t come off too badly. These are the figures provided by the AHEDA for both standard-definition and high-definition releases, with all prices converted to Australian dollars:

Australia $4.25 $5.19
New Zealand $4.78 $6.23
France $4.31 $5.50
Germany $4.74 $5.79
Italy $4.65 $6.10
Spain $4.69 $6.16
UK $4.61 $6.41
US $3.93 $5.30

The numbers have been adjusted to exclude GST or other sales taxes. The AHEDA didn’t say specifically which services were compared in each country, but said it include video-on-demand services for both devices and televisions. The comparison doesn’t include subscription streaming services like Netflix or Quickflix (which let you consume unlimited content for a fixed monthly fee, but often exclude new releases.)

That makes for a more sensible basis for comparison than the ludicrous numbers bandied about by CHOICE recently, which compared streaming and download-to-own services to no sensible purpose. However, the data still needs to be taken with a grain of salt: the AHEDA is firmly on the side of the film industry, and is also behind the near-useless Digital Content Guide site. We suspect the argument isn’t quite over yet.


  • 5.99 and 6.99 for HD whenever i want to rent a movie digitally, where did they get their figures from?

    • Time for some homework Angus..
      Since you’re blowing the horn loudly for the local Content Providers, where does an Australian rent New Release Movies for $4.25 + 42.5c GST ($4.67 total SD) or $5.19 + 51.9c GST ($5.61 total HD)?

      To save you some time, iTunes and Google prices are both $5.99 SD or $6.99 HD.. Must be some obscure service that is bringing the average price down VERY sharply!

  • Here are these figures that we put together in support of our argument. What? No, you can’t find out what sites we used for our comparison. That’s crazy talk! Just trust us, we’re totally legit and not making this up at all, we swear.

  • How old are the movies they are referring to? It almost looks like they’ve cherry picked “on sale” prices and then compared them against standard prices of other countries… but they wouldn’t do something that deceptive now… would they???

  • That makes for a more sensible basis for comparison than the ludicrous numbers bandied about by CHOICE recently,

    Ok, seriously what is your problem @anguskidman?

    Choice is an independent consumer driven body, their entire remit is to provide access to information that benefits consumers. But you’re insisting that we take numbers that are devoid of any context or sourcing from a biased industry body as being more reliable?

    And I commented on your attack of the Choice numbers too… The comparison of streaming to other purchases isn’t as big a faux pas as you insist. While yes owning a movie has some extra value to it which you’re paying for, if you’re trying to figure out the cheapest way to watch X movie you those points of value don’t matter to you.

    Which is all Choice set out to do, based on the pure idea of how can I see this movie the cheapest way possible?

    Of course the fact the numbers were so different meant that you could have resubscribed to it two or three times to rewatch just that movie and it would still be worthwhile from a fiscal standpoint.

    Meaning for you owning it to be financially worthwhile you would need to watch the movie more than 3 times in 3 different months.

    Also if you watch anything else on that subscription service during any of those periods you’re seeing more value than simply purchasing the movie. Sure comparing the differences in those intrinsic values is hard and subjective…. Wouldn’t it be great if we just focused on one aspect that would make comparing all these different options simple? Especially if that one aspect is all most consumers will care about?

  • Now try and get your HD stream to run at current broadband speeds..?
    Hell I’ve tried to download HD content from Quickflix with my 25mps NBN connection and still had dropouts and buffering issues. Kind of makes the HD content moot imo..!

    • Surely HD is even better for you then, you get even more time to appreciate the extra pixel density in each frame while it’s paused for buffering…

  • You know what Choice does that AHEDA doesn’t…. link to source material, retail pricers etc.

    As an user of the internet and you know a person of the modern world who is habitually lied to by politicians, public relations people and corporations…. I am pretty sure those numbers are all made up, cause there is nothing listed with the tables/graphs/reports they have on their news feeds.

    Welcome to the internet, if you cant find anyone to agree with your point… make it up and give it to other people to publish it.

  • So where’s the link to the actual report? If this article is taken at face value, that table of prices looks made up. When making a comment or voicing an opinion, it’s best to support it with data – usually a link to a much detailed article.

  • I can only assume that the tax has been removed to make it a “fair” comparison. But what’s not mentioned in the article and associated content is that the timing of what’s a “new release” varies wildly. It may be up to a year before we even get the same movie to rent as a “new release”. Show me prices where two movies are available AT THE SAME TIME and I’ll show you how Australian pricing *really* compares.

    • Even with tax, the numbers are either made up, or the definition of “New Release” has been compromised to mean (anything released in the past 20 years).
      Either way, it’s not a fair comparison whatsoever and frankly if the work ludicrous is going to be thrown around, it should also apply to the editor who published these numbers.

  • This is an industry biased report not like the Choice report which is consumer interest group. Choice looked at price of watching an entire season of a TV show in Australia compared to watching it via the US version of Netflix. While this report looked at the price of renting digital content. It is not comparing apples with apples. Movie and TV industry should instead look at Music industry which is now reporting decline in piracy because of increase in legit services offer lower priced content. Go figure…

    • Interesting footnote to that table
      VoD includes both internet VoD and VoD delivered within a pay-TV environment. It does not include subscription services

      Surely it would be “Ludicrous” to compare the price of renting one movie to a PayTV subscription Angus?
      Looking up Foxtel, It’s $74/month for their Essentials+Movies package. So to get down to $4.67 inc GST per movie, you need to watch 16 movies every month!

      • Everything about that media release made me angry, it’s nothing but a smear job on a consumer group with blatantly misleading information.

        What’s even worse is this author propping it up.

        So when are we going to see an update or a retraction @anguskidman? I mean the fact that it uses prices in a subscription model (Whilst ignoring the subscription) just to sharply lower the average surely is enough to invalidate the entire point of this article.

        Now the question is, did you read that press release and not care about that pertinent information? Or were you in such a rush to post something that attacked the Choice numbers that you didn’t do any due dilligence?

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