The Great Australian TV Delay: Disruption, Online Piracy and Netflix

Publication Name

Television and New Media


Netflix’s arrival in Australia in 2015, almost a decade after its start as a streaming media platform, helped to close the cultural and technological gap in televisual content legitimately available to the national audience. Australians, eager for international content unavailable locally, had turned to Internet piracy, dramatically changing traditional national televisual consumption practices. Although commonly described as “disruptive,” Netflix’s arrival in Australia, according to its users, was mostly stabilizing and not as transformative to their viewing practices as it may seem. By drawing on in-depth interviews with Australian Netflix users, we provide an account of its early integration into the Australian media landscape. The methodology provides a new model for examining the experience of users engaging with technologies labeled as “disruptive.” The Disruption-Experience (D-E) model is a means for exploring participants’ experiences and accounting for ways that new technologies can reinforce, undermine and dramatically shift user thoughts, feelings and practices. In applying this model to the experiences of Australian Netflix users, we discovered that Netflix concretized—but did not necessarily create—a new set of expectations about agency, accessibility, and temporality that has not previously been accounted for. This is an important discovery at a time of rapid proliferation and adoption of streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) services in Australia, as the competing costs and demands of multiple services could mean a return to the once-prodigious levels of illegal and unauthorized access to television content.

Open Access Status

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Link to publisher version (DOI)