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Australian TV pirates refuse to play the waiting game

Why are Australians such prolific pirates of TV shows? Analysis on the availability of TV shows by tech blog Reckoner may hold some answers.


Aussie pirates have often defended their actions by saying that they would purchase shows (or watch on free-to-air) if that was an option. Instead, they claim, the difficultly in being able to watch their shows in a timely fashion is what drives them to torrent sites.

But how realistic is this? Tech culture blog Reckoner has done some rather detailed research that suggests Aussie TV fan are definitely being left in the cold when it comes to hit TV shows.

Looking at the 31 highest rated TV shows on Metacritic, Reckoner found that a third of these shows were still not available in Australia by any current legitimate means. Less than 25 percent of the shows were available within 24 hours of the original airdate.


Looking at the digital stores (iTunes, Quickflix, Google Play and Xbox Video) Reckoner found that only three shows were available for purchase within a day of airing and a full 52 percent remained unavailable for purchase across all platforms.

We'd highly recommend reading the original article on Reckoner which has report cards for each of the 31 shows in the study, grading them based on delay to Aussie airtime and whether they were available on free-to-air networks or pay TV. Only 2 shows from the 31 received an A grade, and 16 received an F. It's a fascinating piece of work.

While this is only one bit of research, it speaks clearly to the fact that TV distribution is struggling to remain regional in the face of a tech-savvy global audience who aren't willing to wait any more.

This isn't even counting the problem with social media spoilers. This may sound trite, but for shows like Game of Thrones that rely on cliffhangers and shocks, whole seasons can be ruined by Twitter or Facebook. And it's not just online fans that can be the issue -- more and more shows are taking advantage of "second screen" viewers to include official live-tweeting from cast and crew.

Aussies say that they're willing to pay when it comes to TV -- and that certainly seems to be the case with Australian VPN Netflix use tripling in the past year -- so it seems now that the ball is in the distributors' court to find a way for this to happen.