Netflix launched in Australia and New Zealand

First Launch of Netflix in Asia Pacific

SYDNEY (Australia) – The world’s largest streaming film and television service went live in Australia and New Zealand for the first time on  March 24.

Prices for access range from $9 a month for a single device and the lowest quality video to a $15-a-month family plan. The service is offering a one-month free trial.

The US-based company tied up content agreements with global and Australian providers including Village Roadshow and the ABC.

Netflix will join Fairfax and Nine joint venture Stan and Foxtel’s Presto in the increasingly-crowded streaming video market.

The film industry will likely be hoping an increase in legal downloading options will lower piracy rates – Australia was the fourth biggest illegal downloader of House of Cards Season Three, with more than 40,000 homes pirating the show in the 48 hours since its US release.

Netflex has also announced it will team up with internet provider iiNet and Microsoft’s XBox gaming console.

iiNet customers who sign up with Netflix will be able to stream film and television without adding to home data caps, while gamers who buy a new Xbox One will get three months of prepaid Netflix access.

Netflix is available on smart televisions, gaming consoles, tablets and smartphones.

American streaming service Netflix has rolled out its Australian library of on-demand film and television.

Fewer titles offered in Australia than overseas

Those in Australia will suffer from a somewhat streamlined selection of content, initially at least. The Sydney Morning Herald reports that the Australian/New Zealand service offers 220 TV series and 900 movies, compared to 940 TV series and 6,170 movies in the United States. That’s down to Netflix’s efforts to secure release rights in Australia, which are still in their early stages. There are, however, “several hundred” titles that are unique to the region, and the company has said that it is working to beef up the selection for Australians and New Zealanders.

The Netfix Australia library includes a range of genres from action and superhero flicks to TV dramas and comedies such as House of Cards, Downton Abbey, Homeland and Mad Men.

However a number of cult comedy shows are notably absent from the list, such as 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation, The Office (US), Futurama and Archer.

Sydney software developer Kenneth Tsang found Netflix offered 7,000 fewer titles in Australia than in the United States, and 3,000 fewer than in Canada.

“In absolute numbers, there’s a lot of difference,” Mr Hasting said.

“But in terms of the amount you can watch and enjoy of our best content, we have all of that here in Australia.”

Industry analysts believe Foxtel is better placed than its subscription television rivals today because of the content deals it has struck with Hollywood studios. However, in the longer run, Foxtel’s more expensive infrastructure may make it vulnerable to fleeter-footed and cheaper internet-based services.

Free-to-air, Foxtel under threat as US video streaming service launches in Australia

Australia’s free-to-air and pay television operators are under assault again, this time with the entry of United States video streaming service Netflix into the local market. Its entry into the Australian market is seen as a threat to not only Foxtel’s pay television service, but also two new local streaming services — Stan, a joint venture between Fairfax Media and Nine Entertainment, and Presto, run by Foxtel and the Seven Network.

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About the Author: Akhtar Jamal

Tribune International