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How to be safe while watching movies in Australia’s big four big four video rental chains, Prime Video, Vudu and Netflix, are among the most common places to get into trouble for people who look different, according to research released today.
The ABC found a fifth of all Australians had an online video-rental account with a password that allowed access to unlicensed locations, and a third of those people used them to access films.
These included a quarter of Australians who were aged 18 to 29, a third aged 20 to 29 and a quarter between 30 and 49.
The findings come just days after the National Broadband Network’s CEO Andrew Broad launched a nationwide initiative aimed at cracking down on the ‘buzz’ surrounding the country’s growing popularity of online video rentals.
Prime Video chief executive and former Labor Prime Minister John Howard told the ABC the company was looking at how it could better police its network of rental kiosks and other “tactical solutions”.
“The thing about it is, as we’ve got more and more people who have access to online video, we’ve also got more people that are interested in it and the more we see people, the more that we can identify what they are and how they are doing it,” Mr Howard said.
“And that is, they may be a bit of a celebrity, they might be a big star, they could be a small celebrity, but they are going to be looking at some of the tactics that we have to look at.”
“And what we’re trying to do is, we’re going to try and have the best tactics for how we can keep these sites clean and how we try to stop people who are trying to get in, people who want to access these sites from accessing them.”
Prime Video said it was working with the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) and Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to tackle online video rental kiosk activity.
“We’re doing the best that we know how to manage these online video platforms,” said a spokesperson for Prime Video.
“We’re looking at all our video rental outlets and are constantly assessing any potential issues that may be arising.”
But the ABC has been told some customers are looking to rent movies from online video kiosks rather than from Prime Video’s own rental site.
In the last two months, we have seen a number of people accessing Prime Video rental sites without paying for them and they have been reported to the ACCC.
“They are coming from Prime and they are accessing Prime’s site, which is fine, they’re not breaching any of the terms of service or anything like that,” said an online user who goes by the name of Zain.
“But it’s just kind of irritating to go back and do it again.”
You’re going in, you want to go out, you don’t want to pay.
I think it’s a bit odd to get a refund.
“Some online users have complained they have not been able to rent Prime Video movies.
A recent report from research firm iSuppli found some Australian viewers are not satisfied with Prime Video and its online rental kiosked sites, including one that lets customers rent Prime films for $10 a movie.
It also found some Australians were “disappointed” with Prime’s handling of “problem customers” who rent the movies for a fee but not pay for them.”
People are disappointed when they can’t rent movies, they are upset when they are not happy with the services that Prime provides,” the report said.
Prime has launched a “buzz” around the country over the popularity of the online video service, with online film-making sites including Fandango and Redbox advertising a “free” Prime video rental service.
Mr Broad said Prime’s kiosks were a safe place for people to rent films and the company would “not tolerate anyone doing anything illegal”.”
It is important to stress that Prime Video has always been about providing a safe and secure place to enjoy movies,” he said.