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Netflix reveals pricing ahead of NZ launch tomorrow

Confirms multiplatform approach, ultra high definition. UPDATE: Spark's Lightbox chops pricing, adds new shows.

Chris Keall
Mon, 23 Mar 2015

Netflix says its New Zealand service will cost $9.99 a month when it launches tomorrow.

That's half the price of Sky TV's recently launched Neon, and also cheaper than Spark's $14.99/month Lightbox (free for 12 months to Spark broadband customers) and the $12.99/month Quickflix (UPDATE: Spark has just cut its price to $12.99 a month and announced several new shows*).

Netflix full pricing:

  • Single-stream standard definition plan for NZ $9.99
  • Two-stream high-definition plan for NZ $12.99
  • Four-stream 4K ultra-high definition "family" plan for NZ $15.99

As with competitors, there will be a free one-month trial.

Netflix will be the first streaming video on-demand service to offer ultra high definition, or four times the picture quality of HD (you will need an unlimited data plan and a VDSL or fibre connection to take advantage of it. Don't even think about it if you're home's on ADSL, or the type of copper broadbroad connection used by most Kiwi homes).

Sky TV's Neon is still on standard definition (SD), let alone HD or Ultra HD.

Netflix — which has previously said its local service will initially feature a "subset" of the motherlode of content available through Netflix US — also revealed a few more programming details.

For example, season 3 Orange is the New Black — one of its growing number of Netflix original series — will be exclusive to Netflix NZ locally. The first two seasons screened on TV One, and are available through Lightbox and Quickflix.

Earlier, Netflix exec Cliff Edwards told NBR his company would look to add more content to its NZ service over time, including challenging Sky TV for entertainment content as rights expire over time. He did note, however, that there are some areas Netflix has no plan to invade, including sports, reality TV and local news.

Netflix also affirmed its multiplatform approach for NZ, which includes making its content available through apps on various brands of smart TV, Xbox, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Wii, iOS and Android phones and tablets, Google Chromecast and Apple TV.

It's a far-ranging approach that leaves local services in the dust. Not even Quickflix — the pioneer in making its content available through multiple devices — can match Netflix' range of options for watching broadband-delivered content on a regular TV.

More content details
Netflix has 57 million subscribers worldwide, and focuses on back-cataglogue content and original series including the family thriller, Bloodline, starring Ben Mendelsohn, Sissy Spacek and Kyle Chandler; the epic adventure story of Marco Polo; the new Tina Fey-produced comedy Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Chelsea Handler: Uganda Be Kidding Me Live; Aussie comedian Jim Jefferies: Bare; DreamWorks Animation’s The Adventures of Puss in Boots; and the Academy Award-nominated documentary Virunga, among others. In the coming months, Netflix exclusives will include Marvel’s Daredevil; the dramatic thriller Sense8; the filmed-in-New Zealand movie Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon II: The Green Destiny; and the comedy series Grace and Frankie.

At launch there will be content from Warner Bros., BBC, FOX, NBC Universal, Village Roadshow Entertainment, Beyond Distribution, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and The Walt Disney Company.

Analysts say Netflix will complement rather than directly challenge Sky TV, given Netflix does not in general feature current TV series made by the likes of the major US networks (who collectively back the rival Hulu service) or HBO.

HBO recently added yet another twist to the fast moving video market, announcing a partnership with Apple to sell its content directly to viewers, cutting out both old-world middle men like Sky TV, and new media middle men like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime.

* Lightbox' new shows are (in its own words): ·        

  • the BBC’s acclaimed new political drama Wolf Hall;
  • lavish Christina Ricci crime drama The Lizzie Borden Chronicles;
  • WWII spy thriller X Company and
  • Powers, a police procedural with superheroes, created by the PlayStation Network - all exclusive to Lightbox.

In addition, Lightbox is increasing its stable of local shows with the addition of the Taika Waititi-directed New Zealand comedy Super City starring Madeleine Sami.

Chris Keall
Mon, 23 Mar 2015
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Netflix reveals pricing ahead of NZ launch tomorrow