View Finder: Netflix on Qantas flights is a gateway to streaming addiction

Nick Broughall 17 February 2017

hand of god

Plus, YouTube Red goes kid-friendly and Amazon proves it has no concept of what global means.

Earlier this week Qantas announced a deal that would see customers flying domestic able to stream content in flight from Netflix, Spotify and Foxtel Now.

Leaving aside the rather impressive technical considerations that make this a possibility (NBN satellites are literally beaming an internet connection into your plane while you fly thousands of feet above the ground - how can you not be impressed?), this is a huge win for streaming services.

Think about it. When you're stuck on a plane, what do you want to do? You want to kick back and relax. When it comes down to it, in-flight entertainment has been a poor man's attempt at Netflix anyway, with a wide range of programs to watch but lacking the depth of entire seasons.

If I wasn't already subscribed to Netflix, hopping on a plane with access to the streaming platform would definitely convince me to sign up for a 30 day trial. If I was a frequent flyer, then that subscription would become an automatic expense.

Of course, for current subscribers, the key benefit is being able to access all that content that's not currently available for offline viewing – I'm looking at you, Marvel originals.

But this is a smart play. By giving an immobile audience a small hit of streaming entertainment when they are most susceptible to it, Qantas is going to enable a whole new market of streaming addicts.

Amazon Prime Video still not getting global right

I've already lamented Amazon's disappointing global rollout strategy for its originals. Why on earth should half the world (or more) wait two weeks to stream a show when it's available digitally in the US on a global service?

It makes no sense - they own the global rights, so why would you deliberately make certain global markets wait to access a program? There's no advertising revenue, so it's not like Amazon is trying to lock in ad spend for international release. It's not even like a theatrical, where distributors will delay a movie like Lego Batman to try and milk kids for as much money as possible by delaying release until the school holidays.

But it doesn't seem like Amazon has any intention of changing its strategy. In a press release this week, Amazon announced that the second series of Hand of God would be arriving on Prime Video in the US on March 10. But for the 200 countries currently trying to justify the US$5.99 monthly price for a Prime Video subscription, you'll need to wait until "later this year".

Given the catalogue is already the weakest of the Australian platforms at least, this is a pretty disappointing strategy.

YouTube Red focusing on family

YouTube's paid subscription service was launched with a range of exclusive programs from big-name YouTubers, but for many the real attraction of YouTube Red was little more than avoiding ads.

In order to capture the imagination of the younger (youngest?) generation, Google's video platform has announced that it is expanding its original content this year with a series of shows specifically aimed at kids and families, according to the LA Times.

Four new shows aimed at an under-12 demographic will begin rolling out this year starting from April, and will be available on the YouTube kids app as well as the traditional app.

Given the fact I've watched my 7-year-old spend an hour watching low-quality videos of men dressed up as superheroes pretending to fight each other, I'd say trying to capture the youth market is a solid strategy for YouTube Red.

This week in streaming

Last week I dipped my toe into the world of House of Cards, after years of never getting around to it. And now it's the only thing on my to watch list. That season 2 premiere hit me like a freight train...

But if you've already seen House of Cards, this week sees the arrival of I Don't Feel at Home In This World Anymore on Netflix on 24 February. Stan will be getting season one of American Gothic on 23 February too, which could be an interesting way to spend the weekend.

Otherwise, why not work through our list of romantic films to stream with your significant other?


Each week, View Finder rounds up the latest news in streaming TV and movies for Australians.

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