Why The Slap Producers have got it wrong

The producers of the Australian TV drama, The Slap, have taken on a Netherlands torrent site and won. The site was used by about 40,000 citizens of Australia and New Zealand to “share content that was not commercially available for viewing in other countries”. Now, Australians overseas will need to either wait for the DVD to come out in their respective country or find another torrent site to go to.

The ABC geo-blocks iView content so that overseas audiences can’t view. The rationale is that if audiences can download content online, for free, then they won’t bother buying the DVD. The only problem is that TV viewers around the world are fragmenting into the downloaders and the DVD buyers. People who download, don’t buy DVDs and people who buy DVDs, don’t download.

Australian producers need to adjust their business model accordingly. Why isn’t The Slap available on iTunes or an online ABC Shop? Not months after the buzz has subsided but the night after the Australian broadcast. Would producers not make more money via online channels than with DVD sales? TV is evolving and the beauty of iTunes is that you can realease episodes one by one and not have to wait for the season to finish before distributing it on DVD.

What lessons can be learned from the music industry’s struggle with piracy? Is it really illegal to download a show via a torrent in the UK if the show is available, for free, to watch anytime, on iView in Australia?
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2 thoughts on “Why The Slap Producers have got it wrong

  1. SthnXinDeutschland says:

    Long time reader, first time poster.

    I’m an Australian currently living in Munich, Germany. Having been overseas for a while now i’m starting to miss my ABC, among another things – I concur with you and find it frustrating that I can’t watch the content. I’d happily pay a small fee (this is a lie) or an international subscription fee (also a lie).

    Interestingly, Germany are also very strict on their licensing (this is a licensing issue isn’t it?) Sites like youtube are practically impossible to browse, because anything that has any sort of music or clips get censored – so I’m really left with just watching content made in Germany.

    Thanks for putting the thoughts out there.


  2. james says:

    Can understand that content should be more available online everywhere, but one of the reasons that the Slap is not available on iTunes immediately could be that iTunes is a commercial platform from which Apple makes money from every sale. If the ABC funds the making and marketing of a new tv drama with taxpayers money then it’s fair that the free window of catch up is free for everyone via streaming like iview before apple gets to take their cut.


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