Just when we were all getting nice and comfortable with same-time releases as the rest of the world, and smug in the fact we could actually jump into a timely conversation about trending US and UK releases, the good ol' fun rug has once again been pulled out from under us, courtesy of the Australian Classifications Board.
Despite the fact that the streaming service has clearly helped drop Australian piracy rates (remember that we are the world's biggest pirates down here), the Australian Government and Netflix have warned that due to the huge influx in content, we might soon be seeing TV and film drop delays, simply because our classification board cannot keep up with the demand.
"As Netflix increases its investments in content, more and more titled will need to be given and Australian classification," says Netflix global public policy manager, Josh Korn. Korn has been calling on the federal government to allow streaming video-on-demand providers to be able to self-classify content, which is not the case at the moment with SVOD, but already exists in the realms of traditional broadcasters and the gaming industry. Simply speaking, the current Classification Board cannot keep up with technology (surprise, surprise).
"Netflix adds thousands of hours to its Australian catalogue each month," says Korn. "Many of these titles, including Netflix original content, have never been shown in Australia and need to be given an Australian classification and labelled with appropriate consumer advisories." As a result, Netflix is currently backing a draft proposal by the government which will look at consolidating all classification functions under a single regulator - the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority), which the current Classification Board, despite the pressure and lag-time, is against because it claims the ACMA "lack the breadth of skill that would be required to assume full responsibility." UGH.
The fact that SVOD platforms like Netflix and Stan have proved that Australian are quite willing to pay for quality content should be motivation enough for everyone involved to come together and sort out this sh*tstorm. And we wonder why we can't have nice things...