Daycare at home these past few weeks. Image: Pixabay
Daycare at home these past few weeks. Image: Pixabay

MoneyApril 6, 2020

Beyond Netflix: Where to watch TV and movies without spending a cent

Daycare at home these past few weeks. Image: Pixabay
Daycare at home these past few weeks. Image: Pixabay

If you’re a movie-lover but don’t feel like funnelling more money to a giant global corporation right now, good news: there are plenty of  free – and legal – streaming options out there. You just have to know where to look.

The number of people with access to linear television is growing smaller and smaller by the year now that the internet controls our lives. Now that most people either have a subscription to one of the many streaming services or are still using their ex’s login, the choices seem endless. But if you’re not so keen to give more money to giant corporations at the moment (fair), there are still heaps of options for your watch party, for your kids, for your family… for yourself.

TVNZ OnDemand

We all know about it, so why does TVNZ OnDemand still feel overlooked by Kiwis in favour of overseas services? For some reason whenever type the OnDemand URL into my browser it takes me straight to the page for a show called Spiky Gold Hunters. Now that we’re in lockdown I’m going to start watching Spiky Gold Hunters and figure out what the heck it is.

You don’t have to do that though. There are so many titles on TVNZ OnDemand that you may not realise are there: Kiwi films such as Boy and Hunt for the Wilderpeople, overseas TV series like Community, Friends and Dawson’s Creek and children’s content out the wazoo.


You didn’t think I’d praise one without the other, did you? You want some motorsport? ThreeNow’s got it. You want some comedy? ThreeNow’s got that too. You want indistinguishable American crime dramas? ThreeNow’s got heaps. There’s not much kids content on here, but that’s okay, the small people get everything – Love Island is a treat just for us.


I’ve mentioned them before and I will mention them again, because Beamafilm is the streaming service of my dreams and it’s entirely free and totally above board. It’s an Australasian service that works alongside libraries to offer free independent films to library members. More than 35% of the content is Australian or New Zealand-made, and there are hundreds of films across dozens of genres to choose. 

All you need is a login from one of the participating libraries. These include Auckland City Libraries, Dunedin Public Libraries, Wellington City Libraries and heaps more in New Zealand. Check to see if your local library is on the list here.


Pretty much the same deal as above, OverDrive is an online database with videos, ebooks and audiobooks that’s free if you have a library login. Download the Libby app and login using your library details. There’s documentaries, TV shows, a kids’ movie called Slime Time, basically everything.

It’s available for library users all over the country, check here to see if your local library has OverDrive.

NZ On Screen

Want a lil homegrown number? This is the service for you. Boasting over 700 hours of pure Kiwi content, NZ On Screen is an archive of New Zealand history through film, with interviews, documentaries and short films. If you’re not sure where to start, episode one of All Talk with Anika Moa from 2016 features The Spinoff’s own Alex Casey awkwardly clapping along to a performance by Kings.

Keep going!