Down the Netflix Australia rabbit hole

Ok, I have finally given in and decided that I will do the free trial with Netflix Australia for the month and see what all the fuss is about. I set it up last night and early signs are that it is great!

I’m not one to bang on about a product, but I really feel that this is a step in the right direction for entertainment producers to provide products to their audiences, especially here in Australia. Australia is one of the highest consumers of pirated media, is this due to the fact that we are primarily the descendants of criminals and thieves, probably…but there is another issue at play here and that is the ‘Australia Tax’. What is this tax, you may ask, you may also not have asked, but I don’t care, and will tell you anyway. Typically, products cost more to import to Australia, primarily because they have to travel a long way to get here, like a really long way…to get to the Asian hubs via airliner we are looking at 8-10 hours, and let’s not even get started on flying to the US or Europe – put aside a few days travel for that!

So, reasonably, it costs more in transport costs to get things here, we also have really strict Customs and Border control – so that employs a lot of people for Border Security and keeps a lot of products out, or they have to go through checks and balances to get through, again fair enough…BUT…Australian’s are now paying more for information products and products in digital form – that means that downloading iTunes, Apps and other products costs us more than it does for other countries. A good, albeit old, analysis is here. So what do Australian’s do when we feel that we are unfairly done by? Well, we pirate the shit out of it, we take what we want and we don’t care for the consequences, because we are Australians, dammit!

But then there is another issue, that of release dates and availability. Release dates for films are pretty consistent, and I make no complaints there, but release dates for television sucks. Breaking Bad was on the government owned ABC for the first few seasons – GREAT – but then it became popular and the only way to get it was to pay a significant amount to cable to get it. Not only this, but we often wait and wait for shows to get to us. Netflix has changed that, and shows like Daredevil are now with us at a moment’s notice.

But why is timing such an issue? HAVE YOU EVER USED SOCIAL MEDIA?! When a movie or film premieres, and you enjoy movies or film, you must look away from the Internet. Don’t get me started on the Season Finales or Finals of shows like Breaking Bad or Game of Thrones, you cannot get away from that! But Netflix Australia has allowed us to, finally, keep up with the rest of the world on a lot of shows (not everything, but beggars can’t be choosers, we will get there).

Oh yeah, and the interwebs is sloooow in Australia, like really slow. I get max 5mb/s and we rank around 44th in the world in terms of internet speed even lower than New Zealand! NEW ZEALAND! But on the initial tests that I ran with several shows there was no buffering, halting or service drop outs while I was using it, they must have a really good middle out algorithm.

Last night I started Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and greatly enjoyed it, with plenty more to come. I thought that there were heaps of shows to keep me busy, and then realised that I was only looking at the products that were recommended for me, so the reality is that there is even more to watch.

I want to become a professional Netflix watcher, but alas, I don’t think it is going to happen..and on that I must note that this post is not sponsored by, or paid for by, Netflix Australia or any of it’s subsidiaries, I just really dig it.

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