Why view our content when we can see the world?

Audiences no longer consume content through analogue mediums, we have seen the shift into the digital flow of content. Audiences no longer want to be confined to when, where and how they consume content, rather audiences now have the power to watch content on their own terms. With the rise of Youtube, online streaming services, videos on social media sites and illegal torrenting; audiences now have greater access to global content.

Streaming services are affordable online services that have an unlimited amount of capacity for television and movie content. These services have seen a rise recently in an attempt to curve illegal torrenting of content. Torrenting demonstrates how society currently prefers to watch content, for free and on demand. Australian audiences no longer need to wait until the show is aired domestically long after broadcasting hours to weeks prior internationally.

Currently between seventeen and twenty two percentage of all age brackets of internet users are utilising video on demand (Screen Australia), although this percentage doesn’t state if this also takes into account users whom illegally download content. However, astonishingly online streaming services have been successful due to their ease and low subscription prices. As of 2013 Netflix had forty million subscribers globally (Ellingsen 2014 p.109), this number would have steadily risen with its introduction into the Australian market. Netflix also have developed a successful two dozen original network series (Brustein 2015 p.45). Furthering that, audiences are turning to online content and shying away from traditional viewing habits. So what does this mean for Australian content?

Clearly society’s changing demeanour towards when and how they consume content has resulted in streaming content rather than awaiting its premier. Digital platforms have also increased the ‘shareability’ of content (Jenkins et al. 2013 cited in Ellingsen 2014 p.107) thus we are now more exposed to global content than ever before. This is resulting in audiences favouring global content over Australian content. We now have unrestricted access to shows such as Game of Thrones, X Files and The Big Bang Theory, traditionally we would have to wait until these shows premiered in Australia or they may have never been shown. We are no longer constricted to the limited availability of Australian content and we are now able to sample overseas content and they are able to view ours.

Online service providers are able to take a chance on international films due to the limited cost of hosting the content on an online provider. This has seen The Howling 3: The Marsupials, be internationally released onto Netflix (Dunks 2014 p.36) and therefore, providing other nations a chance to experience our cultural content.

Digitally consuming content no longer leaves audiences with only Australian content to consume. Audiences naturally favour culturally diverse content over Australian content due to the large variety, however; due to these online streaming services Australian projects are now also globally accessible. Even though Australian audiences maybe settling for culturally diverse content.

References:

Brustein, J 2015, ‘VIDEO: The Netflix Effect Is Spreading’, Business Week, Vol. 4450, pp. 44-46.

Dunks, G 2014, ‘Down And Out Down Under’, Metro, No. 180, pp. 34-37.

Ellingsen, S 2014, ‘SEISMIC SHIFTS: PLATFORMS, CONTENT CREATORS AND SPREADABLE MEDIA’, Media International Australia, pp. 106-113.

Screen Australia 2014, “Online and on demand Trends in Australian online video use”, Screen Australia, p.18, viewed 25th January 2016, < https://www.screenaustralia.gov.au/getmedia/d61a7c4b-3abf-444c-9367-aa8dc8b1b8f6/OnlineOnDemand_2014.pdf >

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