I MIGHT have never had a talking parrot and a wooden leg, but I used to be a ruthless pirate.
If there was a film or television show I wanted to watch, I would head to a torrent website and download it without giving it a second thought.
Then Netflix found its way to Australia and I was forced to reconsider my scallywag actions — especially when I could gain access to the streaming service for less than $10 a month.
Around the same time, Stan and Presto made their plays, making it even more difficult for me to morally justify illegally downloading content.
The decision to part with my pirate ways was made even easier by the ability to gain access to the US Netflix catalogue using a few little tricks.
Unfortunately, my dreams were shattered when Netflix decided it was going to crackdown on geo-dodgers.
All was not lost, because Stan soon announced it had signed a multi-year content deal with premium US network Showtime.
To view the mighty Hank Moody in action, I now need Stan.
To view the mighty Hank Moody in action, I now need Stan.Source:Supplied
So I joined Stan and was now paying $20 a month for almost everything I wanted to watch — a price that was totally justifiable.
Then with Mr Robot, True Detective and Aquarius streaming exclusively on Presto, I decided to drop another $15 on its TV and movie combined service to ensure I was doing the right thing and not pirating.
While paying just under $35 a month for content was more than I wanted to, it still wasn’t breaking the bank.
But then a number of other competitors announced plans to enter the market following the success of streaming services already established in Australia.
This week, The Walt Disney Company announced it had been in discussions with Aussie telcos to bring a subscription video-on-demand service to our shores. Already in the UK, DisneyLife offers more than 300 movies and more than 2000 episodes from television shows from the company.
Last week, NBCUniversal said it was launching Hayu in Australia.
Like Showtime’s deal with Stan, all these separate streaming services and deals will likely see the eventual pullout of that content from existing platforms, forcing audiences to fork out more money to more people if they want access to everything. And if the US market is anything to go by, it’s a trend that looks to continue.
A six-episode series starring Dr Dre is being made by Apple.
A six-episode series starring Dr Dre is being made by Apple.Source:AFP
Add to that, Apple, with its billions and billions of dollars, wants in on the action too.
And in a way beyond one-off purchases on iTunes, which I was already using to pay for content not on streaming services.
Last week, the tech giant announced it was working with Dr Dre to create a six-episode series loosely based on his journey from the streets of Compton to the upper echelon of the global business community. The series, Vital Signs, would make Apple the latest company to use original programming to attract new customers.
Despite flirting with the idea of launching a $30 a month streaming service in recent years, the new show is expected to be launched on Apple Music — the company’s $12-a-month streaming service.
Of course, there’s also sport. As a fan of the NRL, UFC and NBA, I have two options.
To see every game of my beloved Bulldogs is going to blow the budget.
To see every game of my beloved Bulldogs is going to blow the budget.Source:News Corp Australia
I can obtain a NRL Digital Pass for $12 a month, an NBA League Pass for $12 a month and a UFC Fight Pass for $10 a month.
Or I can sign up to Foxtel Play for access to all of the sporting channels, which will allow me to watch much more content.
However, as sporting is considered premium and can only be added to a basic package, I will be looking at $50 per month.
If you add the cost of sport to my existing Netflix, Stan, Presto and Apple Music subscriptions, I’ll either be paying $76 per month (with the three passes) or $97 per month (with Foxtel Play).
That is a far cry from the $9.99 per month I was originally looking at.
While I admit I might not need all of these packages, if I was to watch everything I wanted to legally this is what I would be paying.
And it won’t end there. More will come, they always do.
It’s hard to listen to the $100 a month angel on my left shoulder when the devil on my right keeps pointing out that Pirate Bay has made it even easier to access endless content without paying a cent.
Anyone know a good parrot breeder?