Australian Audiences: What’s Wrong With Us?

The problem isn’t Australian films, it’s Australian audiences

I love Australian films, with all their flaws and mistakes and even outright crassness on occasions … But if it is to continue to be part of our culture, Australian film needs a bit of kindness, and it needs audiences. – Margret Pomeranz, co-host of ABC’s At the Movies

When looking at the success or failure of Australian films, we quickly assume it’s because of the content. However, with 2015 being Australian films ‘biggest year at the box office, taking more than $84million (Quinn, 2015), it must be something other than what’s in the movie. But maybe it’s time we start looking at who’s watching the movie. Let’s turn the lens around and look into what’s the problem with Australian audiences.

empty-cinema
Dwindling cinema goers for Australian films. Source

A significant ‘problem’ with Australian audiences, is that we are a leading nation of ‘pirates.’ The Intellectual Property Awareness Foundation’s 2010 report indicates that ‘more than half of Australia’s population has participated in piracy’ (The Conversation, 2014) because pirating is ‘free, convenient and quick, with 30 percent of pirates saying that legal content is too expensive (Reilly, 2015). As discussed in previous posts, price and time are big constraints restricting people’s access to go to the movies. And why would you spend money on something that you can get for free?

However, I hear from… a friend of mine… that it is extremely difficult to access Australian content online through pirating. Therefore, audiences may have to turn to Video On Demand Services like Netflix. However, the American Netflix has more Australian content than the Australian Netflix! So even if audiences are trying to do the right thing and paid for an Australian Netflix account to watch Australian content, their options are extremely limited.

ozflix-300x300
Ozflix. Coming in 2016. Source

But is it all the audiences fault?

Even if we want to watch Australian films, we face the massive issue of access. Kaufman states that Australian films will continute to ‘find fewer audiences if the Old World distribution system remains the only way to connect films with audiences’ (Kaufman, 2009) So it only makes sense that we need to give our distribution and access to Australian films a facelift.  2016 will see the launch of Ozflix. A unique new platform allowing audiences to access a huge amount of Australian content (watch below for more information).


<p><a href=”https://vimeo.com/141530786″>Ozflix Sizzle reel</a> from <a href=”https://vimeo.com/ronbrown”>Ron V. Brown</a> on <a href=”https://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>

The success of Ozflix is yet to be known, with its launch occurring later in 2016. Ozflix and ‘VOD (video on demand) offers the potential to tap into specialised audience demand’ (Screen Australia, 2014). This new platform will allow audiences to engage with Australian content in a positive way, easier, cheaper and faster. This cheap and easy access to multiple platforms is a crucial market that the Australian media content industry needs to tap in to (Thank you Ozflix). As the government makes it harder and harder for people to torrent illegally, there is demand and room within our current market to support Australian Content moving to Video On Demand.
So whilst there may be a few problems with us as an audience and a few problems with Australian films… all in all, we’re not too bad. The issues seems to lie in access. In order for Australian films and content to flourish, it needs a dedicated and committed audience. Hopefully 2016 and Ozflix will cater to the audiences demand.

 

References

The Conversation, 2014, ‘Explainer: Where’s the audience for Austarlian films?’ The Conversation, 17 January, viewed 12 December, http://theconversation.com/explainer-wheres-the-audience-for-australian-films-20945

Kaufman, T 2009, ‘Shortcuts: finding Australian audiences for Australian films’, Metro: media & education magazine, no. 163, pp. 6-8

Quinn, K 2015, ‘Australian film has had its biggest year at the box office ever. Why?’, Sydney Morning Herald, 6 December, viewed 12 December, http://www.smh.com.au/entertainment/movies/australian-film-has-had-its-biggest-year-at-the-box-office-ever-why-20151204-glfut3.html#ixzz3wuc4sIIk

Reilly, D 2015, ‘Australians still pirating but most would ignore three strikes warning’, CNet, 22 July, viewed 13 December 2015, http://www.cnet.com/au/news/australians-still-pirating-but-most-would-ignore-three-strikes-warnings/

Screen Australia, 2014, ‘Online and on demand – Trends in Australian online video use’, Screen Australia, viewed 13 December,

 

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