Dan Barrett

Dan Barrett is the Content Director of Televised Revolution. His musings on television have been heard across ABC Radio, on websites like The Guardian and Crikey, and drunkenly in pubs across the country. At night he spends too many hours watching repeats of Cheers.

‘A Place To Call Home’ Represents A New Security For Foxtel

Outside of their continuing commitment to sport, the true jewel in the crown for Foxtel, two brands were front and centre at the 2015 Foxtel Upfronts tonight in Sydney: HBO and A Place To Call Home. Both series represent divergent paths for Foxtel as the cable television service defines itself for a digital age.

Tonight Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein announced that Foxtel had signed a deal to extend the exclusive access Foxtel has to HBO’s content:

“HBO is one of the world’s most impressive television brands. Together, we have forged a fantastic legacy of entertaining Australians with the best drama available. We’re thrilled to extend our exclusive relationship even further to ensure we are able to deliver our customers the entertainment they love and expect from us across Foxtel and Foxtel Play.”

Freudenstein admitted that the HBO content would play a role in changes to Presto next year that would include television content. Presto, Foxtel’s movie streaming service, currently offers the library of films scheduled on the Foxtel movie channels. With Netflix expected to launch an Australian service in early to mid 2015, along with Nine Entertainment Co/Fairfax Media launching their StreamCo service, competition is going to be fierce for Presto. The combination of Presto’s strong movie offering combined with access to HBO series like Game of Thrones is a compelling product that should drive considerable enthusiasm.

Also announced during the Upfront presentation (though widely known already) was that Foxtel had acquired the rights to the recently cancelled Seven drama series A Place To Call Home. Foxtel will produce two seasons of the show, continuing on from where the Seven series left off. Foxtel will also re-air the first two seasons of the show, introducing the series to Foxtel viewers – along with an alternate ending to the second season that differs to the ending that concluded the series on Seven.

Screen Shot 2014-10-30 at 11.18.48 pmAcquiring A Place To Call Home is a curious decision in that it is counter to the premium drama series that Foxtel has traditionally been known for. A Place To Call Home is a populist drama series that lacks the ‘edge’ of Foxtel’s original series. The decision to acquire the series may well speak volumes about how Foxtel will position their service moving forward.

Despite solid ratings, A Place To Call Home was cancelled by Seven for not delivering an audience outside of the 55+ demo. Picking up the series is a clear sign that Foxtel are seeking that same audience on their subscription TV service. The concern of TV content on Presto is that it’ll cannibalise their existing subscriber audience, but A Place To Call Home signifies a new line of thinking at Foxtel.

HBO content used to brand their online streaming service Presto as a go-to destination for edgier and complex premium scripted entertainment, with A Place To Call Home used to establish the traditional cable subscription TV service as a destination for safer, more traditional fare. From a technical standpoint, it stands to reason that a streaming service skews younger, so why not define its brand appropriately?

A Place To Call Home simply doesn’t match the standards set by Foxtel with series like Devil’s Playground, Tangle, or Satisfaction. But as a show with a built in audience and pre-existing name recognition that appeals strongly to an older audience, it fits the brief to a T. A Place To Call Home establishes a new brand identity for Foxtel – one that insulates it from the upcoming challenges from the likes of Netflix.

5 Challenges Facing StreamCo At Launch

One doesn’t envy the difficult task that partners Nine Entertainment Co and Fairfax Media have ahead of them in launching ‘StreamCo’.

Nine are the first Australian broadcast TV network to move into the Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) space. In doing so, they need to deal with a market that suffers extreme technological limitation, oppressive data allowance restrictions, and the need to prevent cannibalisation of their existing broadcast TV service. It’s quite a difficult task. But if they’re successful, the payoff will be bountiful.

 The number of challenges ahead of StreamCo are many, but there are 5 core challenges the streaming service will need to face in order to deliver a valued offering in Australia:

WHICH MODEL TO EMBRACE: SAME DAY RELEASE OR SEASON CHUNKS?
The approach to content offered by StreamCo on day one will define the service moving forward as they attempt to establish a beachhead in the Australian SVOD space. Undoubtedly subscribers will find full seasons of older TV shows available to stream, but what will be StreamCo’s approach to series currently on the air. Should they sign a deal with Warner Bros, for example, subscribers will no doubt be able to stream every episode of, again as an example, The Big Bang Theory. But will that also include episodes from the current season?

The Big Bang TheoryStreamCo have two choices here. They either adopt the model used by Netflix which is to purchase the rights to seasons that have already been broadcast in full. It’s only once the series have aired on TV that they’re then available for download. There is also the Netflix Original Series like Orange Is The New Black which are produced for Netflix and thus the entire season is available on day of launch. Netflix subscribers are used to being able to consume a series in bulk once they see that show available in the catalogue. The other option is to approach it the way that Hulu offer which is to make the shows available the day after they air.

Hulu are very much a subscription catch-up service that offers additional content, whereas the Netflix model is not dissimilar to purchasing box sets from a retail store. There are also mixed models like Amazon who are still experimenting with original series and whether to release them in full season chunks, to parse them out individually weekly, or release series in small bundles on a regular basis. Amazon are increasingly leaning more toward the Netflix full-season dump model.

The Australian market has been badly served by free to air broadcasters for decades with shows aired months, if not years after their original debut internationally. Australia’s very high piracy rate can be attributed to this viewer frustration. StreamCo can make a massive splash in the local market by offering US and UK series on the same day as their initial airings. Online, there’s no ratings benefit from delaying a program to meet time-slot or general scheduling requirements.

Of course to do so means that this is ultimately creating additional competition for Channel Nine. Are Channel Nine prepared to burn down the forrest to save the village? Embracing an SVOD catch-up model like Hulu would be a great way to attract immediate attention to the service, but a Netflix model makes more sense to maintain the integrity of Channel Nine as viable.

HOW TO DELIVER STREAMCO TO TELEVISION SETS
This is the greatest challenge that StreamCo will face. There are very few means by which Australian’s are able to watch streaming services on their actual TV sets. The number of local services available through the Apple TV is pitiful. Users need to either have a video game console like a PS3/4 or an X-Box 360/One, or they can use a Chromecast, or there is using supported services through their Smart TV’s. The user interfaces on Smart TV’s are generally awful and it’ll be a difficult task convincing many people to buy an expensive gaming console just to watch TV through. The Chromecast is a good alternative, but in what’s still an early phase of adoption, many users will want the experience of browsing viewing options on their actual TV.

If StreamCo wants to build significant penetration locally they’re really going to need to partner up for a hardware solution. It’s unlikely Apple will offer StreamCo through their platform (they certainly don’t currently offer the catch-up services of any of our local broadcasters, including SBS On Demand which is on almost every device imaginable), but could Google’s Android TV platform be a possibility? If StreamCo can partner with a hardware company to deliver local streaming boxes with Android TV as its operating system and pre-loaded with StreamCo, that would go a long way to getting over this significant hurdle. Furthermore, they have Channel Nine and the Fairfax papers/websites as a excellent promotional tools to get the word out.

Legitimate streaming services will open up a significant market in Australia, but more will have to be done to actually get the content onto the audiences TV’s than just sitting back and hoping a hardware platform gets adopted widely. In a market as small as Australia, StreamCo is going to need to be proactive on this front.

Of course, it’s possible StreamCo has already solved this problem.

A StreamCo-branded Roku?

A StreamCo-branded Roku?

THE 200,000 NETFLIX SUBSCRIBER DILLEMMA
It has been said that there are 200,000+ subscribers to Netflix in Australia. A figure like that immediately proves that Australia is a market hungering for an SVOD service of that scale. But, the problem for StreamCo is in how they will budge those 200,000 subscribers from the service.

It’s not just a matter of convincing these Netflix users to subscribe to an additional service to try it out. For many Australian Netflix subscribers, their hardware needs to be reconfigured to access an Australian service. While some devices will allow you to add content providers from different regions (PS4, for example), many require you to establish which country you’re in when setting up the device. Not only do StreamCo need to convince these pre-existing Netflix subscribers to trial the service, but they’ll also need to get them to go through the hassle of reconfiguring their hardware to do so.

These pre-existing Netflix subscribers will be important to get on board. These are the early adopters, the technologically savvy, and the evangelical users who will promote streaming services to friends and family.

DATA QUOTAS
For StreamCo to be successful in the Australian market it will require more than just the technologically savvy or the media consumption progressives to sign up to the service. Our population is just too small to sustain a local service like this if they want to be able to compete with the likes of global competition like Netflix. The 55+ aged TV viewers are those who watch the most TV, yet are likely the least inclined to want to pay for a large data allowance. It would be prudent for StreamCo to align themselves with ISP’s to offer StreamCo as a bundle deal to prevent the service from contributing to subscribers data allowances. One would presume StreamCo is going to be a product more sought-after than Fetch TV.

RECOMMENDATIONS
Netflix is well known for using algorithms to recommend content to subscribers and to push relevant content to the front page of the service. The age of scouring an entire video store for hours looking for a DVD to rent on a Saturday night has passed long ago. If subscribers are to get value out of StreamCo (and continue to subscribe), they need to be using it regularly throughout the week. This means users need to be able to find content they want to watch quickly with minimum fuss. A recommendation engine is a must.

One of the failings of Netflix is that they don’t back up their algorithm-based recommendation engine with any further suggestions. I’m sure viewers can readily deal with occasional pre-roll promotions of other shows of interest on the service as long as the ads played are targeted towards the interests of the viewer. It would be a great way to increase engagement with the content on the service.

Netflix By The Regions Report 2014: Canada

Purpose Of The Report
When Netflix launch into new territories, they must sign content deals with the rights holders of content in that region. As such, different content appears in different Netflix regions. Furthermore, Netflix don’t just roll out US content into every territory, but rather mix it up with local content that suits the cultural temperament of the territory. The Netflix By The Regions Report is a mere snapshot of the sorts of content on offer in each region (in October 2014) and how they differ to other Netflix offerings.

Territory Overview
Netflix launched into Canada in September 2010 at a cost of CAD $7.99 per month (US $7.15). Netflix Canada was the first territory outside of the US that the streaming giant entered.

Content
The Canadian Netflix service has for a long time been the best of the Netflix services internationally. Why? It has many of the same strengths of the US service, but is unencumbered by the rights deals that tie up many popular films and TV shows with other services. There’s less strong competition in Canada, meaning the library of titles is just that little bit better. Beyond that, there is little difference between the US and Canadian services.

Netflix Canada ScreencapTitles included in the Popular On Netflix section are:
The 100, Gilmore Girls, Full House, The Walking Dead, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, The Mindy Project, Once Upon A Time, Hotel Transylvania, Family Guy, Bones, Life As We Know It, Raising Hope, Despicable Me, Brooklyn Nine Nine, The Wolf of Wall Street, The Heat, Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit, The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, Video Games: the Movie, Dexter (TV), Happy, 21 Jump Street, Friday, House (TV), Community (TV), Trailer Park Boys (TV), Hannibal (TV), 12 Years A Slave, Space Jam, Jim Jefferies: Bare, Lord of The Rings, World War Z, Zombieland, The Vampire Diaries, Ocean’s Thirteen, American Dad (TV), Sex & the City 2, Young Justice (TV), Chelsea Handler: Uganda Be Kidding Me, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, House of Lies (TV), The Cabin In The Woods, Moonrise Kingdom, How To Train Your Dragon, Aziz Ansari: Buried Alive, Spongebob Squarepants (TV), Jack Reacher, The Croods, Lawless, Bubble Guppies (TV), Labor Day, Almost Famous, Blue Mountain State (TV), The Way Way Back, Star Trek Into Darkness, X-Men: First Class, The Book Thief, Chuck (TV), Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, Bill Burr: You People Are All The Same, Mortified Nation, Buffy: the Vampire Slayer (TV), Californication (TV), Step Brothers, Superbad, Tom Segura: Completely Normal, Psych (TV), 20 Feet From Stardom, Damages (TV), Mike Birbiglia: My Girlfriend’s Boyfriend, Star Wars: The Clone Wars (TV), Tim’s Vermeer, Enough Said, The Lorax.

One of the more enticing titles is a Canadian series ‘Being Erica’. It’s not great television, but it is very watchable and charming. The series centres on a Canadian woman named Erica whose therapist is able to send her back in time to relive past regrets.

Netflix Being EricaOverall
With the massive spending Netflix have engaged in of late, the one advantage Netflix Canada had over Netflix US (being better titles) has become far less apparent in the past year. Regardless, the Canadian Netflix has some wonderful titles that aren’t available in the US store and stands as the best example of what Netflix can offer in countries that have a much smaller population.

Netflix By The Regions Report 2014: Brazil

Purpose Of The Report
When Netflix launch into new territories, they must sign content deals with the rights holders of content in that region. As such, different content appears in different Netflix regions. Furthermore, Netflix don’t just roll out US content into every territory, but rather mix it up with local content that suits the cultural temperament of the territory. The Netflix By The Regions Report is a mere snapshot of the sorts of content on offer in each region (in October 2014) and how they differ to other Netflix offerings.

Territory Overview
Netflix launched into Brazil in September 2011 and will cost a monthly subscription price of BR $14.99 (US $5.94). Brazil is a market where content companies have traditionally listed their content at a high price point, one of the main reasons why piracy is rampant in Latin America. The pricing of Netflix’s monthly subscription equals the cost of approximately three pirated DVD’s, or just one legitimately purchased DVD. In Brazil the Netflix service is squarely targeted at the middle class.

Content
The content on offer is very similar to that in other Latin American Netflix regions. A large US content offering with some local titles made available. Titles are offered in the original language, along with a Portuguese track. Netflix say that the dubbed versions in Brazil are the most widely watched.

Netflix - Brazil - Screen
Titles included in the Popular On Netflix section are:
Galinha Pintadinha (TV), Secret Life of Babies, Video Games: The Movie, Dexter (TV), How I Met Your Mother (TV), The Walking Dead (TV), Transcendence, Sugar Vs Fat, Breaking Bad (TV), A Haunted House 2, Resurrection (TV), Fabio Porchat: Fora Do Normal, Avengers Assemble (TV), Modern Family (TV), House (TV), Hunger Games 2: Catching Fire, Ted, Once Upon A Time (TV), Grey’s Anatomy (TV), The Croods, Despicable Me, Man On Mars: Mission To the Red Planet, The Wolf of Wall Street, 21 Jump Street, God’s Not Dead, Nitro Circus: The Movie, Tron: Uprising (TV), Prison Break (TV), Vikings (TV), Friends (TV), The Office (TV), Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters, Supernatural (TV), Family Guy (TV), Lone Survivor, De Welle, The Americans (TV), David Beckham: Into The Unknown, Revengs (TV), David Bowie: Five Years, Wild Brazil, Lie To Me (TV),Taboo Latam, Lee Daniel’s The Butler, E-Team, Mickey’s Once Upon A Christmas, Turminha Paraiso, The Fresh Prince of Bel Air, El Chavo (TV), Larva (TV), Hugh Laurie: Down By The River, Spongebob Squarepants (TV), Bruna Surfistinha, Pocoyo (TV), Inglorious Basterds, The Goonies, Superbad, Saint Seiya (TV), Snitch, Life Hack – Ted Talks, Hidden Kingdoms, Orphan Black (TV), Back To the Future, Zach Galifianakis: Live, The Hobbit, Print The Legend, Shooter, Pulp Fiction, Hermanoteu na Terra de Godah, The Boy With The Striped Pyjamas, Lego Superheroes: Maximum Overdrive, Death Note (TV), Natiruts Acustico no Rio de Janeiro, Seven, The Way Way Back.

A true stand-out in the Netflix Brazil catalogue is the three volume set of tribute shows done by a local Beatles tribute band. The collection “All You Need Is Love” is the closest you’ll ever get to a modern feeling concert DVD featuring the fab four.

Overall
Netflix Brazil has come a long way in just the past eighteen months. It’s library feels far more fulsome than it traditionally has. The range of Brazilian Movies is still a little lacking with concert films making up the bulk of the films offered.

Is A Sense of Curation Lost On Broadcast TV?

What you see on broadcast TV and when you see it is not lovingly considered. It’s a numbers game generally, with TV programmers scheduling for specific audiences on certain nights, while counter-programming and attack-programming against their rivals. It’s a cutthroat game of chess with maths supporting them with every move.

And the audiences can feel it.

Audiences know that they’re watching two and a half hours of a dancing reality show because it’s relatively cheap programming that attracts a high number of viewers and that the network can stretch out a show to two hours and retain the enthusiasm of that viewership. They also know that they’re watching two episodes back-to-back of that sitcom with the four nerds and a sexy blonde lady because the network knows it is a reliable performer that offers little risk of audience erosion.

TV has always been a numbers game, but the audience perception of it has altered. In years gone by, those decisions seemed to exist much further in the background than they do now. Seeing shows pulled after two weeks of terrible ratings tend to reinforce the idea that it is a business in the minds of the viewer. But it never used to be this way. There were spots on the schedule that felt hand-crafted. These curated segments felt almost artisanal with hosts introducing segments. Whether that was Bill Collins introducing The Golden Years of Hollywood in the afternoons on weekends, or on the ABC and SBS with presenters like David Stratton, John Hinde, Des Mangan, and Ivan Hutchinson.

Of course, Bill Collins can still be found on Fox Classics introducing the films of yesteryear and Marc Fennell can be found on SBS2 introducing cult movies as part of ‘Movie Mayhem’, but they serve as the last vestiges of a time gone by. It all seems so quaint today.

But, is it really such an old fashioned idea?

Audiences today can access movies and TV shows through distribution channels that are far removed from broadcast TV. Content is now streamed from the likes of Netflix, Presto, and SBS On Demand among other sources. Or audiences are illicitly downloading material. Or buying it off iTunes/Google Play. The viewing options for on demand content are endless. What can a broadcast network do when fighting off competition that allows their users to watch what they want to watch when they want to watch it? They need to offer a compelling reason to watch the TV that can only be offered on a linear broadcast service. Broadcasters need to play to their strengths and not just come across as a mathematically driven automated content delivery system.

TV needs to feel curated again. And it doesn’t just have to be movies. TV is ripe for this sort of treatment today.

Consider SBS. They screen all manner of international series that have limited name recognition and often deal with cultures that have interesting quirks that differ to our own. It would be fantastic to see a dedicated time-slot each week that presents a foreign language TV show that also comes with a recognised critic/presenter/commentator who can deliver a 90 second guide to the episode that is set to air, advise on interesting cultural quirks, and build upon the viewers understanding of the show prior to air.

It’s a more difficult proposition on the commercial channels where it’s riskier not launching straight into a series for fear of losing casual viewers to a show. But there are ways to implement it. On Friday nights, why isn’t Ten employing a Couch Time style party show to introduce their Eleven Friday night trash fun line-up of series like Snog Marry Avoid and The Graham Norton Show? On Saturday nights why isn’t Nine extending their Kids WB brand to incorporate the children-orientated Saturday night films that they schedule.

Presenters can be annoying, but employed in the right way, presenter-based content can deliver a compelling reason to tune in to otherwise lifeless timeslots. It delivers a belief (as false as it may actually be) that the programming has been hand-picked and is an integral part of the audiences viewing experience.

Broadcast TV has a number of advantages in their arsenal against a world of growing alternatives to their services. A sense of curated content can go a long way to reminding us why broadcast TV is still relevant.

Televised Revolution "What Is The Value Of The ABC?" (Ep 367)

The ABC is under threat. The government are looking to cut funding, while The Australian are seeking to set the news agenda –  waging war against the organisation and its staff. Despite this, the public love the ABC. Ratings are stronger than some of its commercial rivals with polling revealing the public support the work of the ABC.

Is the ABC right to keep funding the ABC? Is the strong conservative voice in Australia right to want to pull funding? We discuss the ABC and our own engagement with Aunty.

As always the panel also discuss the TV news of the week:

  • A Place To Call Home officially gets the Foxtel greenlight.
  • Warners launch their digital devision Blue Ribbon
  • Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is cancelled
  • Manhattan Love Story marks the first US TV season cancellation of the 2014/15 season.
  • Zombies invade Ramsay Street.
  • Is the ABC set to drop its state-based Friday 730 shows?
  • 7Plus launches on the T-Box
  • The very first feature film for the Oculus Rift launches.

At Televised Revolution, we look forward to receiving your mail and check us out on the Twitter. You can also find the podcast on iTunes (please leave us a review, it helps people find the show).

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Netflix By The Regions Report 2014: Belgium

Purpose Of The Report
When Netflix launch into new territories, they must sign content deals with the rights holders of content in that region. As such, different content appears in different Netflix regions. Furthermore, Netflix don’t just roll out US content into every territory, but rather mix it up with local content that suits the cultural temperament of the territory. The Netflix By The Regions Report is a mere snapshot of the sorts of content on offer in each region (in October 2014) and how they differ to other Netflix offerings.

Territory Overview
Netflix launched in Belgium recently on September 18. The starting price to access the service is €7.99 (US $10.12). Telco Proximus also offer Netflix as part of a bundle with their TV offering.

Content
As one expects, titles are predominantly from the US, but the Belgium service offers a very strong French influence on their library. The library certainly feels quite a bit smaller than others. Austria, which also launched in mid September, seems to have a more substantial service. Due to rights already issued elsewhere, House of Cards is not available in this region. Netflix Originals from Orange Is The New Black onwards are available.

Belgium NetflixTitles included in the Popular On Netflix section are:
Once Upon A Time (TV), Orange Is The New Black (TV), Breaking Bad (TV), The Walking Dead (TV), The Wolf of Wall Street, The Big Bang Theory (TV), Pretty Little Liars (TV), How I Met Your Mother (TV), Penny Dreadful (TV), Call The Midwife (TV), Tangled, Jobs – Gates, Suits (TV), Fargo (TV), Dexter (TV), , The Book of Eli, Prison Break (TV), Les Lapins Cretins: Invasion (TV), What To Do When You’re Expecting, New Girl (TV), Hemlock Grove (TV), Sons of Anarchy (TV), Orphan Black (TV), Elementary (TV), The Paradise (TV), Top Gear (TV), Lost (TV), Homeland (TV), Liar Liar, Wreck It Ralph, The Americans (TV), Moonrise Kingdom, The Killing – US (TV), Video Game: the Movie, The Dark Knight, Twin Peaks (TV), Walking Tall, I Am Number Four, Something Borrowed, Africa, Charlie & The Chocolate FactoryAnnika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter (TV), The Hangover Part 2, The Mentalist (TV), Shutter Island, Deadwood (TV), Fais Pas Ci Fais Pas Ca (TV), Heroes (TV), Finding Nemo, Metronome (TV), Tron, Fargo, The Hangover, Sherlock Holmes, Brave, Misfits (TV), Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy, White Collar (TV), Hotel Transylvania, Bolt, From Duck Till Dawn (TV), Limitless, Hercules, Due Date, Dracula (TV), Ray Donovan, Lego Superheroes: Maximum Overdrive, Lie To Me (TV), Doctor Who (TV), High Fidelity, Celeste & Jesse Forever, The Adventures of Tin Tin (TV), The King’s Speech.

There are a few stand-out titles that caught my eye. The documentary series Metronome, which explores the history of Paris looks promising. Scandi-noir TV movie series Annika Bengtzon: Crime Reporter is also attention-getting, even if it is one of the lesser scandi-noir shows of recent years. US series Ray Donovan will also garner some attention on the service.

Overall
While light on content, that’s often to be expected with an SVOD service right upon launch. In the coming months the library will grow. The content that is on offer is perfectly fine, but certainly not compelling.

The Missing and Benched – The Watchlist 26 October 2014

This week sees the end of HBO series Boardwalk Empire, concluding after five seasons. The show never quite established itself in the mainstream pop culture psyche, always flying just a little under the radar with a very loyal fan base. It’ll be interesting to see if Boardwalk Empire builds a viewership over the next few years as audiences discover it, or if it just fades away.

A number of shows return this week – Mom, Degrassi, 2 Broke Girls, Lillyhammer, Two & A Half Men, and Elementary. Debuting this week is the rote US sitcom The McCarthy’s.

The Watchlist is a primer for shows that are debuting or have an episode of note. If you want more complete TV listing site, be sure to check out the Pogdesign Calendar. Please note that all dates cited below are in accordance with their local broadcast times/airdates.

Special thanks goes to Jen Knight for assisting in compiling the Watchlist.

* * * *

The Missing
Airs: Tuesday 28 October (BBC1 – UK)
A child goes missing during a family holiday to France and is never found. His father spends years searching for the child, causing further difficulty in his marriage. The detective assigned to the case is similarly obsessed, believing that the child is still alive. This series is obviously inspired by the Madeline McCann case and looks to be a solid drama.

Benched
Airs: Tuesday 28 October 2014 (USA Network – US)
The premise of this series comes across as very US TV typical, but it may well be worth checking out and sticking with. Eliza Coupe (Happy Endings, Scrubs) stars as Nina, a top end attorney who has a mild breakdown and falls from grace where she then needs to find work in the down & dirty world of working as a public defender.

It’s the cast that sells this series and suggests it has the potential to be better than the premise would suggest. Eliza Coupe is a comedic standout in everything we’ve seen her in yet. Her co-star is Better off Ted lead Jay Harrington. Oscar Nunez from The Office is also on board as a supporting actor, as is the great stand-up Maria Bamford.

Netflix By The Regions Report 2014: Austria

Purpose Of The Report
When Netflix launch into new territories, they must sign content deals with the rights holders of content in that region. As such, different content appears in different Netflix regions. Furthermore, Netflix don’t just roll out US content into every territory, but rather mix it up with local content that suits the cultural temperament of the territory. The Netflix By The Regions Report is a mere snapshot of the sorts of content on offer in each region (in October 2014) and how they differ to other Netflix offerings.

Territory Overview
Netflix have launched operations in Austria just weeks ago, in mid September 2014. The starting price to access the service is €7.99 (US $10.12). While this will soon change as the service adds subscribers, the Austrian service launched without any local content.

Austria Netflix 1

Content
The content selection leans heavily on US content, but also draws from a healthy selection of European movies and TV shows with a strong emphasis on German content.

Titles included in the Popular On Netflix section are:
Walking Tall, Madagascar 2, Barbie: Life In The Dreamhouse, Luther (TV), Gamer, Monsters vs Aliens, 7 Psychos, The Raid, Iron Clad, Over The Hedge, Inception, Bee Movie, Matrix, Deadwood (TV), The 4400 (TV),  American Gangster, My Little Pony (TV), Minority Report, Kung Fu Panda, The Hobbit, Dieter Nuhr: Nuhr Unter Uns, Breakout Kings, On Death Row (TV), Secrets of The Third Reich, Eagle Eye, The Smurfs (TV), Life, Person of Interest (TV), Shaun of The Dead, The Jungle Book, The Departed, Tom & Jerry: the Movie, Tucker & Dale vs Evil, The Lincoln Lawyer, The Blue Planet, Pokemon: Black & White, Dragonball Z, Coraline, The Next Three Days, The To Do List, Ripper Street (TV), Man on A Ledge, TMNT, H20 Just Add Water (TV), Kaya Yanar: Made In Germany, Don’t Be A Menace To South Central, Margin Call, Blue Exorcist (TV), The Hurt Locker, Die Maus (TV), Clash of The Titans, Jim Jefferies: Bare, Training Day, Seven, Charlie & The Chocolate Factory, The Mask, Jumper, Robin Hood, I Am Legend, Fireman Sam: The Great Fire of Pontypandy, Kevin Hart: Seriously Funny, Terra Nova (TV), Bad Boys, Mia and Me (TV), Print The Legend, Robots, We Were Soldiers, V For Vendetta, Rush Hour.

It was curious to find HBO drama Deadwood is appearing on the Netflix service. A great get for Netflix, but one would presume HBO would be displeased to see their content on the rival service.

Netflix Austria Deadwood

Overall
It’s interesting to see how much content is on the service in comparison to when Netflix first started International services. Their UK launch seemed very limited in content, whereas this feels like a rich offering. The number of art-house independent films of note seem a little higher than expected with some really great titles in the mix.

Netflix By The Regions Report 2014: Argentina

Purpose Of The Report
When Netflix launch into new territories, they must sign content deals with the rights holders of content in that region. As such, different content appears in different Netflix regions. Furthermore, Netflix don’t just roll out US content into every territory, but rather mix it up with local content that suits the cultural temperament of the territory. The Netflix By The Regions Report is a mere snapshot of the sorts of content on offer in each region (in October 2014) and how they differ to other Netflix offerings.

Territory Overview
Netflix Argentina launched in September 2011 where they have 310,000 subscribers. The price is a monthly 39 pesos (US $4.59).

In September 2014, the Buenos Aires govt announced a 3% tax on connected streaming media services. Dubbed the ‘Netflix tax’, the tax (effective November 01) applies to services that provide access to “movies, TV and other audiovisual entertainment that are transmitted over the Internet to TV sets, computers and other devices connected to the Internet”. While some believe the law was put in place to level the playing field between local and international players, the law has received criticism by those who believe international streaming services will now have to re-assess the value of operating in Argentina.

Netflix Argentina 1

Content
As with every other international territory, Argentina offers predominantly US content with a smaller selection of content that is either produced locally, or by neighbouring counties that shares similar cultural tastes.

Titles included in the Popular On Netflix section are:
Resurrection (TV), Secret Life of Babies (TV), El Senor de los sielos (TV), Video Games: the Movie, The Walking Dead (TV), Breaking Bad (TV), Dexter (TV), How I Met Your Mother (TV), Sugar vs Fat (TV), Gallina Pintadita, A Haunted House 2, Toy Story 3, Grey’s Anatomy (TV), Avengers Assemble (TV), Modern Family (TV), Revenge (TV), Despicable Me, Nitro Circus: The Movie, House (TV), Once Upon A Time (TV), Casese Quien Pueda, The Croods, Man On Mars: Mission To The Red Planet, Transcendence, Taboo Latam (TV), Ted, Hunger Games 2: Catching Fire, Instructions Not Included, The Americans, Prison Break, Mickey’s: Once Upon A Christmas, El Tiempo Entre Costuras (TV), The Wolf of Wall Street, Tron: Uprising (TV), Vikings (TV), Friends (TV), Tangled, The Office (TV), 21 Jump Street, Jessie (TV), Pocoyo (TV), Cars, Family Guy (TV), Monsters Inc, Lone Survivor, Law & order: SVU (TV), Mary Poppins, Happy, David Bowie: Five Years, Lie To Me (TV), The Borgias (TV), Curious George: Halloween Boo Fest, How To Train Your Dragon, La Reina Del Sur (TV), Zapped, Real Steel, Savages, The Parent Trap, Larva (TV), Lego Superheroes: Maximum Overload, Orphan Black (TV), Hunted, Chelsea Handler: Uganda Be Kidding Me, Hidden Kingdoms (TV), Print The Legend, Zach Galifianakis: Live, Serrat & Sabina: Two For The Road, Obsesion: Cuerpos Que Gritan (TV), Saint Seiya: The Hades Chapter (TV), Super Bad, Ripper Street (TV), Yengo Ganas De Ti, Shooter, Supernatural (TV), Criminal Minds (TV).

A highlight found in the TV Comedies section is the Mexican 1973 series El Chapulin Colorado – the inspiration for the Bumblebee Man character on The Simpsons.El Chapulin Colorado

 

Overall Thoughts
Netflix Argentina is content rich and is well worth the subscription for locals. People venturing from other Netflix regions will find many familiar titles on offer, but mixed in with a very healthy number of Latin American movies and TV shows. It may be an issue of perception based on the Netflix algorithms, but it does seem that the titles on offer skew more masculine and more in the direction of family viewing.