Netflix planning early 2015 launch into NZ — Aussie film industry mag
Netflix is planning to launch into Australia and NZ in the first quarter of 2015 says Inside Film, and Aussie trade publication, quoting unnamed "executives at the US studios."
IF adds, "A Netflix spokesman today declined to comment on speculation but last week did not rule out an eventual push Down Under, telling IF, “We do hope to be everywhere someday."
Netflix' low-cost, all-you-can-eat movie and TV downloading service (plus original content) would certainly be welcome in these parts.
Unlike Quickflix, which can only make the tiniest of dent in the content market against Sky TV [NZX: SKT] (which last year spent $289 million on programming of total expenses of $666 million), Netflix is a multi-billion operation with around 50 million subscribers.
I want it to be true. As the Commerce Commission has noted, we need more competition in content. And more so with the UFB offering more delivery options, including using fibre to deliver a picture to a regular television (via a low-cost set-top box).
But we have been here before. Last year there was a blizzard of rumours about a Netflix push into Australia that never eventuated.
And Netflix has had a sniff at NZ before, but turned up its nose. In 2011, Netflix vice-president of product innovation Brent Ayrey visited Auckland, but said our low data caps were a turn-off for his company.
But recently, there's been an explosion in data caps, and out-right unlimited plans. In bandwidth terms, there's now nothing to hold Netflix back. Content rights are a different story, given Sky TV's multiyear deals. A stunted Netflix NZ would simply see thousands continue to use workarounds to access Netflix directly from the US (and boy do there seem to be a lot doing that already, given the outcry over recent problems).
Meantime, Aussie streaming services have recently cut their pricing, and Australia-based Quickflix today did the same for its NZ users, chopping its monthly sub from $14.99 to $12.99.
The Quickflix move could have been in reaction to the new wave of Netflix rumours.
But it's just as likely to a preemptive move against Telecom's soon-to-launch streaming service, which will be open to the customers of all ISPs.
Telecom says it will spend $20 million on its service over its first year, including operational and programming costs.
Sky TV has been so utterly dominant that CEO John Fellet has been reduced to talking-up the threat of over-the-top competition to starve off regulation. But one day or another, the real thing is going to arrive, and it could be Netflix in the New Year.