The much anticipated move by US media streaming giant Netflix to expand into Australia and New Zealand will happen in March 2015.
There’s been speculation for months that Netflix will enter the local Australian market and seek direct subscriptions, rather than local users getting around geoblocking to subscribe.
Tens of thousands of Australians are said to subscribe to Netflix this way. It costs $8 a month for Netflix access plus about $5 a month for a service to get around the geoblocking.
Netflix says it have more details on price at a later date but it is bound to be cheaper than $13 a month. Most of the industry charges about $10 a month for all-you-can-eat services.
Australia’s media streaming market is getting crowded with a $100 million Nine Entertainment/Fairfax media joint venture, Foxtel’s new services Go and Presto, the ASX-listed Quickflix and EzyFlix.tv.
When told of the Netflix launch date, Quickflix CEO Stephen Langsford said: “Game on!”
The local market has been anticipating the Netflix move by positioning services to meet different needs.
Stan, the Fairfax/Nine service, is expected to launch in February, a month before Netflix, using an exclusive content deal, the Breaking Bad spinoff Better Call Saul as a platform to pull subscribers in.
However, the battle for the streaming media market will be fought over content and Netflix has a lot of it.
At launch in Australia, not all titles in the US service will be available but it’s not yet known the extent of the offering.
Netflix says it will not reveal the exact number of titles.
However, it says it will be home to the acclaimed documentaries Virunga and Mission Blue, and stand-up comedy specials Uganda Be Kidding Me, Live, from Chelsea Handler and Jim Jefferiess BARE, among many others.
The Netflix Australia selection will expand in 2015 to include original series family thriller Bloodline starring Ben Mendelsohn, Kyle Chandler, Sissy Spacek, Linda Cardellini and Sam Shepard; the superhero tale Marvels Daredevil featuring Charlie Cox and Rosario Dawson; Sense8, a thriller from the creators of The Matrix trilogy; and, from the creator of Friends, Grace and Frankie with Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda.