Movies to hit home sooner to beat pirates

Studios to cut delay from cinema release to DVD and digital download to encourage consumers to buy rather than download illegally.
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01.Anti-piracy plan

Australians will soon wait a month less than they currently do for new movies to come to DVD and digital download, getting access to them just three months after their release in Australian cinemas.

Chief executive of the Australian Home Entertainment Distributors Association (AHEDA) Simon Bush reportedly  announced the move as part of an effort to combat movie piracy. AHEDA represents the $1bn Australian film and TV home entertainment industry. It’s hoped that reducing the usual exclusive cinema-only window for new titles from 120 days to 90 days will reduce the motivation for people to download the content illegally.

In a report by Fairfax Media, Mr Bush said studios “...don’t like the fact that they are losing out a lot of money to piracy.” He said the move is not across the board for all movie studios, but a shorter cinema-only window is expected to increasingly become standard practice.

He said the move to reduce the cinema-only window “…continues to ensure that the theatrical window retains its rightful prominence in the market as the premium movie experience, but also allows the consumer to increasingly access the film earlier digitally and on DVD and Blu-ray and thus reduce what some refer to as the 'piracy window'."

Left behind

CHOICE says consumers understand that paying for content is necessary to keep high-cost TV shows and movies in production, but that illegal downloading has become commonplace because media companies have failed to keep up with changing consumer viewing habits and technology.

CHOICE believes movie and TV industry must adapt to cater to how and when consumers want to view their entertainment. Some fans turn to piracy when they might otherwise have paid for content if it was available at a reasonable price and in a way that suits them.

In short, the industry needs to change to meet the needs of consumers and keep up with advances in technology. See our report on movie streaming and geoblocking.

Three strikes crackdown

Meanwhile, the Abbott government is considering two dramatic changes to crack down on online piracy in Australia, including  a so-called "three-strike" scheme and an internet piracy filter.

CHOICE is campaigning against these moves, arguing that the government should not force costly policies onto consumers and ISPs that won't address the root causes of internet piracy.

These proposals won't stop piracy but they will make the internet more expensive and slower for everyone, not just people illegally downloading content.



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