Why The Man In The High Castle Season 2 was delayed for Australia

Angus Kidman 1 February 2017

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International rights continue to be a problem for Aussie viewers.

Australians have been able to sign up for Amazon Prime Video since December last year. While that's good news for anyone who wanted to watch The Grand Tour, one of the problems with the service is that it has relatively few shows on offer (check out our lists of the available TV shows and movies if you need confirmation). And that's because the online streaming rights for most titles have already been grabbed by Foxtel or Netflix.

The one area where you'd expect this not to be a problem is with Amazon Originals, the shows that are produced specifically for Amazon Prime Video. But it turns out that even those can be held up.

Case in point: yesterday Amazon sent out a release announcing that Australians would be able to watch all 10 episodes in season 2 of The Man In The High Castle, the series which covers an alternative future where the Allies lost World War II, from 10 February, with a "sneak peek" of the first episode available from 3 February.

But it's hard to really see it as any kind of preview, since the entire series has been available to US viewers since 16 December 2016. In other words, we're getting it nearly two months later, which feels like a long delay in the modern TV universe where even free-to-air networks usually rush to screen overseas shows as soon as possible.

Amazon has form in this area. Its crime drama Sneaky Pete debuted in the US on 13 January this year, but didn't show up in Australia until 27 January. So what gives?

There are a range of potential issues here. Amazon hasn't sold the rights to either of those shows to other players (which was the case with Transparent, which streams in Australia on Stan). It may have needed to tweak its rights contracts for global broadcast, though you'd imagine it would want to make worldwide distribution a key requirement right from the start.

It might want to balance demand across its servers, but Netflix seems to manage fine without doing that. Whatever the reason, it's a reminder that we still don't live in a truly free content universe.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on finder.com.au.

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