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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. 

ckeall@nbr.co.nz

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Comments and questions
13

Netflix selection is overrated.

if netflix doesnt eventuate or it does in a limited form ,most tech savy people or younger people will just work around the rules and get netflix from the US.
Just like they do for music etc the days of monopolies and duo-opolies in NZ will be at an end one day and regulators will have no one to blame but themselves as the tax base is eroded because people get all there stuff off-shore at cheaper prices and better propositions

Once you have a Netflix subscription it is easy enough to view the Netflix catalogue from other countries.

So if they do open in NZ with a limited selection I'll probably move my US subscription over - rather than it currently being registered to my address at the White House!

Bring it on! Sky TV is grossly overpriced.

SKY is only ever really in some form of real jeopardy once (or if) they lose access to the crown jewels of live sport. Though the loss of the Premier League this year was a shot across their sporting bows.

what I spend on my mums SkyTV in a month is what I spend on Netflix in a year. I have no idea why anyone pays for SkyTV, oh wait those poor rugby heads that care about grown men chasing a leather ball.

@nathan - some of those people who watch sports on Sky might not care to pay for or watch exactly what you want to watch either.

If it's too good to be true it probably is. They'll say sorry, hosting in NZ is x times more expensive than the USA... Content rights are locked up with sky... And we can't be bothered dealing with all that when your whole country is a market smaller than most US cities.

If only sky released an online version where you could just choose the channels you want.

I would happily pay the $10pm for Soho, as long as I didn't have to pay the $80pm+ to get a MySky Box to be able to get access to it.

I +1 that Harvey. Brilliant idea. SkyTV should seriously consider that. I'd happily pay for Rialto too :).

I agree with Harvey as well although my main issue is that there is a significant amount of content around that there is no mainstream way of accessing locally - the USA Network's 'Suits' comes to mind as does a lot of NBC Universal's SyFy channel content portfolio which has never been screened here.

If there was an easy way of accessing this without having to have a non-domestic streaming provider and a geo-spoofing then I'd happily return to a domestic provider that provides HD quality content via the internet and pay a fair price for the content that our household wants to watch rather than continuing to pay another provider offshore and using technical workarounds.

Early 2015 launch? I'd hardly call that early, why is it taking so long? Surely it's just a matter of pushing a few buttons.

Whatever. Bring it on. I do feel sorry for the oval balls brigade. And I suppose I feel sorry for Sky too, to whom I too would have gladly been paying a few bucks for a few crumbs of their otherwise gluttonous smorgasbord.