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Netflix's Sarandos: Global Licensing and Winning the War Against Piracy

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Sean Fang Sat, 04/05/2013 - 18:30

In an interview with Stuff Magazine, Netflix's Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos says that he and the company is working hard to ensure content is available all around the world without the current limitations and delays.

Netflix is already available in many countries around the world, sadly not yet in Australia. But each country may only have access to a subset of content available in other countries, due to the limitations involved with licensing agreements. Most agreements only cover specific regions and countries, but Sarandos wants the industry to move towards a more global view towards licensing.

Sarandos says: "The window of time between US broadcast and international availability is a gap and a problem everywhere. My goal is to make licensing much more global so the service has more global availability. All our original stuff is available on all our international sites and we’re moving more towards ubiquitous global licencing. It’ll take years, unfortunately - but that’s what we’re steering towards."

Should this happen, it will greatly improve the chance that Netflix coming to Australia. And if that were happen, it would be great news not just for TV and movie lovers, but also for the industry in their fight against piracy. Australia has one of the highest movie and TV piracy rates around the world, and many critics have put the blame on the limited legal options that Aussies have access to. If what has happened in other regions holds true, piracy should decrease in Australia if Netflix lands here.

"When we launch in a territory the Bittorrent traffic drops as the Netflix traffic grows ... The best way to combat piracy isn’t legislatively or criminally but by giving good options," Sarandos explains.

3D content, currently only available in the US, and 4K content could also find a home in Australia too. 3D content is only available in the US at the moment because, as Sarandos explains, connectivity issues in other countries prevent a wider 3D rollout from being a realistic proposition. The same can be said of 4K content, which promises to deliver four times the pixels that the current best HD formats can offer and will need increased bandwidth for online delivery. But with the NBN project underway, and both major political parties at the very least promising to improve broadband infrastructure in the country, Australia could very well be at the forefront of high bandwidth video delivery revolution. If Netflix ever decides to come here, that is.

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