Preface: I think copyright should be abolished, and distribution rights more strictly enforced. There, that out of the way...
I'm happy to fork over $$ to any service that lets me watch the latest episodes of my favourite TV show or a movie that has recently been released.
Good on ye, mate!
No stupid region codes, no stupid staggered releases to other parts of the world (yes, I am in YURP), just a reasonable price for access to the latest contest.
Sounds good to me!
It sure does!
Oh for pete's sake. We knew it was coming. It's always coming. Okay, fine, let's hear your arguments.
generally has older content (which, I guess, is easier to license).
Well, yes, yes it is. As soon as we try to license more recent content, prices go up. Our prices go up, your prices go up. All of a sudden, we run afoul your whole "reasonable price" thing. I know, we should blame the content providers for charging more for something recent for which there is greater demand than there is for the old stuff, supply & demand shouldn't apply here because supply is infinite and all that. Unfortunately, reality doesn't work that way, but let's continue.
I feel that I have no other option but piracy,
Why do you have that feeling? Is that a feeling imposed on you by outside influences (is the industry bombarding you with so much advertising that it has instilled a psychological need, like an addiction), or a feeling that is entirely self-created?
I.e. if Netflix does not offer you Movie X that was recently released, why do you feel that your only option is to download it (be that legally, as in The Netherlands, or illegally) - rather than going out to see it (if still playing in theaters), renting it (physical or pay per view), buying it, or... I know, odd suggestion ...not seeing it?
and if a legitimate alternative would be available, I'd use it.
So do you use Netflix?
See, on the one hand, Netflix is a legitimate alternative to downloading "older content". That would suggest that you should be using it for that older content. But there's that "but". So I don't know if you do or do not use Netflix.
If you don't, and the reason for this hinges upon that "but", then where would you put the bar - and are you willing to make this bar immovable?
You see, I come across people saying "oh I would totally pay for X if they'd just offer Y", but then once that becomes available they slowly add on the entire rest of the alphabet.
"I would totally pay for music if it were cheap"
"I would totally pay for music if it were cheap and DRM free"
"I would totally pay for music if it were cheap, DRM free and played anywhere"
DRM-free MP3s at iTunes
"I would totally pay for music if it were cheap, DRM free, played anywhere, and I didn't have to store it"
"I would totally pay for music if it were cheap, DRM free, played anywhere, I didn't have to store it, and came as uncompromised quality without lossless encoding".
Well we haven't reached that bar yet, and it might not end up being that bar, but we all know that bar is going to move; if not in features, then in exactly what defines 'cheap'. Streaming music services have already moved the bar on that - $0.99/song is considered rather expensive now.
So when you consider an answer to the "where would you put the bar", make sure you aim as high as you're truly comfortable with. Then put yourself in the shoes of a company that is supposed to make this happen, and contemplate whether you can think of a way that this could be made to happen, and be sustainable.
If you find that it can be - good god, man/woman, what are you still doing here? GO OUT AND DO IT - I would sign up pronto.
If you find that it cannot be - then be honest with yourself, and realize that you will always be downloading, are unlikely to be paying for any service that does not meet the bar, and are perfectly fine with that.
I would be. I'm fine with impossible demands and the impossibility of meeting them. Let everything go back to patronage, I say. Then pirates would no longer be pirates, artists get exactly what they agreed to, and we can all revel in whatever quality and quantity of entertainment this results in. There'll always be local bands playing for free beers and actors doing stage performances for the joy of it.
In the mean time, download away - especially if it's legal. Just try not to distribute - especially not if you profit off of doing so (and that includes all the people making a cozy living off of shady ads plastered around the little iframe with the video in it).