18 May 2016

Netflix killed the television star!

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Netflix now totals 81 million subscribers who stream around 10 billion hours per month.  With the advantages that online services offer over traditional TV, the numbers aren’t surprising.

Rather than waiting out a tedious week between episodes, Netflix puts entire seasons at your fingertips. Don’t try to tell me you haven’t binge-watched your favourite series, I know you’re lying.

While Channels 7, 9 and 10 are battling it out for the top spot in primetime, Netflix doesn’t have to worry about securing their time between 8 and 11pm. “Above the fray, Netflix doesn’t need to worry about what its competition is doing on any given night,” TV Cheat Sheet says.

Traditional TV is still a slave to the Nielsen rating system, whereby networks send a box to selected households representing key demographics (with consent) and tracks the household’s viewing habits, TV Cheat Sheet explains. Netflix replies, “What ratings?”

But the Government is trying to level the playing field. Streaming services such as Netflix, Spotify and YouTube could be regulated by the Australian Communications and Media Authority if proposed changes in the ACMA Review are enacted.

The report cites gaps in the FreeTV code of practice which are now out-dated in that they only deliver content via traditional means but fail to encapsulate streaming services.

“The ability for one service provider to deliver the same content to different devices over different networks has led to inconsistent regulatory treatment,” the report says.

The degree of influence services like Netflix and YouTube have now surpassed that of traditional television and media outlets. It says, “In the media sector, ownership and control rules for broadcasting, datacasting and newspapers are designed to limit the degree of influence of any one media proprietor.” 

This proposal comes shortly after the Government’s tax cut for traditional broadcasters who are now competing for viewers against online services which don’t pay licence fees, according to Financial Review.

Commercial free-to-air television networks will receive a 25 per cent reduction in their licensing fees with the possibility of further concessions later this year. ABC and SBS will also receive an extra $50 million over three years to support local news, current affairs and multicultural services.

Despite the Government’s valiant attempts to make the game fair, it seems Netflix would have to be disqualified for traditional TV to have a chance at scoring.

After all, it is the age of Netflix and chill.

Claire Dowler is a Conference Producer with Akolade. She recently graduated with a double degree: a Bachelor of Journalism and a Bachelor of Media and Communications Studies majoring in International Communication. Claire thought it sounded more impressive.

A ballroom-dancer who collects salt and pepper shakers and volunteers for animal rescue, you might say Claire has eclectic interests.

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