Australia: A Nation Of Digital Content Hoarders

Australia: A Nation Of Digital Content Hoarders
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Panasonic has just released an interesting piece of research. Apparently Australians are far more likely to download and store content rather than stream it direct from the source. Apparently we’re a nation of digital hoarders of all content — from video, to photos, to games.

According to the research, just 21 per cent of entertainment content consumed in the home was streamed, compared to 35 per cent of content downloaded for later viewing. Thirty per cent of content downloaded is apparently held indefinitely. The average respondent (which we have to assume isn’t supposed to represent an average Australian) is downloading 7GB of content a week.

“There is definitely a trend towards streaming-based entertainment but right now there is a strong preference for physical ownership of content,” said Sophie Barton, Group Marketing Manager at Panasonic.

“In some categories it’s understandable, for example where the content is self-made -– like a home movie –- but it’s harder to explain in others. There does seem to be some connection between the substantiveness of the entertainment like longer movies or e-books, and preservation, however we would need to do further investigation in this area.”

Speaking from my own personal experience, I tend to download and store video content mainly because the quality is higher and that may be a problem local to Australia, considering our internet lags behind other countries. And, of course, when it comes to games, there are very few avenues for streaming content — so it’s almost a given that any games I download have to be stored indefinitely.

What about you guys? Do you tend to stream digital entertainment, or are you more of a hoarder? Let us know in the comments below.


  • For me storing content has to do with the ability to share it with others as well, swapping content has become a bit of a social activity these days.

  • I stream a whole lot of free digital content from Youtube, FTA TV and the like. I don’t really want to pay for the privilege, though…

    Also, my Steam library says I’m a bit of a hoarder…

  • This doesn’t seem out of the ordinary if you consider that most people have download limits and we lack Hulu-esque services. Combine these and streaming just isn’t as viable as torrenting/direct downloading because it means you can get the content you’re after while you’re thinking about it and then watch it when you feel like it without worrying about double dipping with your download quota.

    I definitely hoard. While I stream a lot of Starcraft related content, everything else I download and keep on an external hard drive so that I can view it on whatever device I please at whatever time I please.

    • Yeah, this was my first thought. If I download, I can watch it whenever. If I stream the n I ha ve to put up w ith bu ff ff fff ffering.

      • Buffering isn’t much of an issue for me. Normally when I’m watching a stream and it starts to lag, I’ll just drop the video quality and if it’s something like YouTube of content, then I just pause, make a cup of tea and then resume.

        That works out particularly well because I like tea.

  • As stated, we have shite internet speeds here, and piss poor services offered.
    Compared to the US where majority of internet data is now consumed by streaming the likes of Netflix and Hulu, we have little in comparison.
    I download most of the TV shows I watch, instead of recording them because the quality is higher than out over compressed shit we are supplied, and it comes with proper digital sound

  • No duh. A good portion of the country is either still on dial-up or has crappy ADSL1/satellite connections. Of course we’re going to hoard what took us 3 days to download.

    Which reminds me. I need to buy another hard drive…

  • “I’m sorry, that content is not available in your region.”

    “Hay, why aren’t you guys streaming content on your 1min buffer terrible connection?”

    To quote Div from Penny Arcade: “What a bunch of @$#%ing brain surgeons.”

  • I didn’t even respond to this, but it’s like they know me.
    – Portable drives and DVDs full of shows i’ll never watch again? Check
    – A cluttered Steam library full of games I’ve played for 10 minutes or not at all? Check

  • Yeah.. kind of a bit of a “wel duhhh” moment.
    Especially when considering Australian internet connection and limits.

    Plus, i still like to own what i buy. I don’t like the idea of buying something for consumption within my own house/on my own computer that can only be used once before paying again.
    If i wanted that i would go to the cinema… lol

    • I’d welcome the chance to buy the content that I have… “acquired” in the format I want it.

      Give me the option to drop $1-3 to buy new episodes of say Star Wars The Clone Wars as DRM free AVIs as soon as they’re screened in america and I’ll be all over it. Until then, there’s a competitor offering better service so you don’t get my money till way later when they’re on DVD

  • Crappy broadband speeds, restrictive monthly limits and other things all contribute to digital hoarding. I also enjoy having something complete and stored as opposed to streaming it – it feels more….. finished I guess. Like I own it instead of streaming, which kind of feel like renting. Strange analogy I know.

  • Yep, everyone has hit the nail on the head. If I didn’t have a download cap to worry about (and my download speed was significantly faster), I would stream instead of download. I’m also the type of person to re-watch something I like multiple times, so that’s where the “stored indefinitely” comes into play.

  • Not only are our internet speeds crappy, but our bandwidth caps prevent us from downloading too much in one go. Streaming high quality video or games would be a nightmare. It’s much more reasonable to download a video and delete it afterwards than risk a stream dying after a minute.

  • It all comes down to the stupid bandwidth caps that are so prevalent here. If you Stream it you effectively have a higher opportunity cost than if you download it. If you want to watch something twice you end up using up twice the bandwidth. If you “hoard” it is always there.

    It is all about the “I might want to enjoy this media at some random time when I won’t have enough bandwidth left to stream it” contingency plan.

    Bandwidth caps mean you effectively pay twice for media so why would you do willingly pay more than that on the off chance you would like to consume something more than once.

    *(I know some people choose not to pay for their media, but I will choose to ignore them for the purposes of this post)

    • I think the article is saying we should love CoD and any complaints about the franchise are only from trolls who hate their lives.

  • My internet sucks- I’m still stuck on an old ADSL1 connection. I’m not going to sit here and wait for a show to buffer when it’s far easier to set it to download for an hour or so and then watch it in one hit. Also I have a desktop computer with a RAID1 setup and plenty of space for hard drives, so I don’t have to worry as much about loss of data or running out of space for extra hard drives. If I only had a laptop then perhaps I would stream more (…or use a NAS)

  • I can get upwards of 15mbit download speeds on my Telstra ADSL2 connection but I still hoard over stream. I wanna keep content for ages and build up a library. I still have movies in my library that I got when I first had cable about 10 years ago! Having a NAS is great so I can stream the already downloaded content to anywhere in the house.

  • I would not want Hulu. Just going their Youtube presence.

    I like having it on my computer in case I ever want to watch it again without restreaming it.

  • Not sure how this is surprising.

    Between terrible Download limit’s, stream quality and stream lag. i don’t see why anyone would want to stream content.

    When i download a movie i watch it, and then at some point in the next month the rest of the household will watch it.

    if we were all on 100mbps and had unlimited downloads then i could see a validity to streaming even though it still suffer’s degredation.

    Hell even OnLive is a stretch over here. It uses 3GB of download per hour. Which when put in context of a game having at least 5 hour’s of content. That’s 15GB. Could have downloaded a game that fit’s on 2DVD’s for that usage, and play it for much more than 5 hours

  • I think the same people did the research that do that exciting stuff for toothpaste commercials and haircare products.

    Of course we’re a nation of hoarders. Of course we don’t stream as a rule. We’re still under the tyranny of Telstra and metred content.
    We’ve only just started seeing “unlimited” accounts and even those are limited in what is “unlimited.

    Who wants to have to redownload/repay for something every time we want to watch/listen/experience it.

  • I stream all video content at home. Netflix, Hulu, iView and iPlayer. I only hoard games. My steam library is filling up fast and I haven’t had time to play more than 10 minutes on any given game.

  • Most of the things I watch cannot be streamed, and if they can, it’s at low resolution, high compression, rubbish audio quality, and with terribly generic subtitling. One might think none of that matters to most people, but you can see the compression artifacting a lot more easily with animation.

  • Another factor I forgot to mention: ads.
    Can’t skip ’em when you stream – which is especially torturous if your IP is only associated with one specific advertising demographic in the Evil Marketing Database, resulting in you watching the same ad sometimes several times in a row.

    Div quote above applies here, too.

  • Having literally just this morning finally gotten FlexGet running on my NAS to automate my hoarding, I can probably put my hand up and admit I’m one of those people.

    I even pay for a streaming service and then download stream rips. I just prefer to watch stuff in my own time, on my own terms, in the device I choose, when I choose it. Also my house has corroded internal telephone wiring which causes us to regularly drop connections and sync at slow speeds (1.8mbit) and when you have 3+ machines sharing the one pipe, streams just don’t work.

  • My first reaction was “we hoard because bandwidth and downloads are expensive here”, followed closely by “because the combination of bandwidth restrictions and unreliable internet have historically meant that it is difficult to stream content at high quality”. This means that if we want to watch something again at a later date, we don’t want to have to download it again.
    I’ve noticed that other countries don’t tend to have this attitude – my flat-mates continually stream the same stuff from youtube, wasting downloads, resulting in (virtually) no internet in the second half of the month. Good thing Xbox Live is unmetered 😀

  • Australia doesn’t have awesome internet, like the rest of the world, so we have to hoard – To share.

    It’s a pretty simple concept, well established, and probably not worth writing an article about.

  • I agree with what everyone else has said. It comes down to internet quota and bandwidth. I’m on 1500/256 ADSL1 (all that is available locally). I’ve streamed stuff before, but find it either buffers endlessly, or comes to a complete stop about two thirds of the way in, and you have to restart it which eats up more quota. You can’t pause it and come back later most of the time either. Much easier to download it and watch it with no issues.

    In regards to games, its a lot easier to download a game these days because of updates. Take World of Warcraft for example. If you buy that at the store and install it, you still have a HUGE amount of updates to install as well. (seriously, huge amount.) Its a lot better to just download the most up to date game file and patch with the most recent update than install from disc and have ten patches to apply. Most games these days seem to have DLC or patches.

  • I tend to hoard until I run out of HDD space, at which point I trash anything I haven’t watched in ages/at all.

    If I’m going to use my quota (which is embarrassingly tiny) on digital content, I wan’t to keep it.

  • Gee, might this be because Australia’s internet is crap? You have far more success spending a few hours torrenting a high-quality video then watching it locally when it’s done, vs trying to watch a HD video steaming and having the damn thing stop to buffer all the time.

  • Nah, Im the opposite. I hoard HDD space. Download movies coz I usually dont watch them till a week later anyways, And any game I havent played for ages (XBLA/Installed) I delete as you can redownload at anytime anyways.

    • When it comes to Movies/TV series/Anime, Id rather buy DVDs/Blu-Rays from JB HiFi – discs are just more versatile. One thing Im sick of in the “Advanced” world of the internet, is how every video format is incompatible with every other format, so you spend more time converting than watching

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