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13 September 2017

A new report by researchers at QUT’s Digital Media Research Centre shows that Australian consumers are still disadvantaged compared to consumers in the United States when it comes to accessing digital media.

Key findings of the Australian Access to Digital Media Markets report:

  • Music albums are 24 per cent more expensive in Australia; games are 20 per cent more expensive.
  • Only about 65 per cent of movie titles and 75 per cent of TV titles available in the US can be accessed by Australian consumers. 
  • This is much worse for streaming film and TV: only 38 per cent of films that are available for streaming in the US are available in Australia, and only 39 per cent of TV titles.

The study tracked pricing and availability of 6118 albums, 3880 films, 1298 television series, and 346 console games in one month in 2017.

It focused on the most popular media titles from the past five years, and includes data from Google Play, iTunes, Netflix, Foxtel, Stan, Spotify, Tidal, Deezer and other popular media sites.

“Disappointingly, this data shows us that Australians either cannot access a large portion of content that is available to American consumers, or they have to pay more for the same level of access,” said Associate Professor Nicolas Suzor from QUT’s School of Law.

“Prices have improved over the past five years, and conditions are quite good for consumers who want to purchase films and television titles.

“But music albums and games are still much more expensive to buy in Australia – for no good reason.

“There are also major problems in streaming film and television markets. Australians can get access to only less than 40 per cent of the popular television and film titles we sampled from the past five years that were available in the US.

“Australian consumers have complained for a long time that they’re not getting a fair deal; our research shows that this continues to be a problem.

“We have seen in the past that poor levels of access lead consumers to look for content through illicit means. If the industry wants to tackle copyright infringement, it still has a long way to go to providing cheap and easy solutions for consumers.”

The report is the first attempt to track changes in digital media markets over time. With funding from ACCAN, researchers at QUT have developed the infrastructure to allow ongoing monitoring into the future. Future analysis will be able to provide additional detail about other concerns of Australians – including, for example, the lag between release dates for content in Australia compared to the US.

Download further information and the full report.

Contact: Nicolas Suzor: n.suzor@qut.edu.au

Media contact: Niki Widdowson, QUT Media, 07 3138 2999 or n.widdowson@qut.edu.au

After hours: Rose Trapnell, 0407 585 901, or media@qut.edu.au

Associate Professor Nicolas Suzor "Australian consumers cannot access a large portion of content availabe to America consumers and pay more."

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