Netflix launched in Australia and New Zealand at midnight.
Aussie tech blogger Kenneth Tsang immediately ran a programme to extract all TV series and movie titles from the browse category of Netflix Australia, then compared it to overseas versions of the service.
Netflix Australia and Netflix NZ have the same pool of content. New Zealand's is reduced slightly further, still, because Sky TV has exclusive local rights to some of the content that features in Australia.
Even House of Cards -- perhaps Netflix' best-known original series -- is missing from the NZ version of the series.
Netflix NZ's biggest competition was always going to be Netflix US. It doesn't seem like the small army of geo-block busting Kiwis are going to see a lot of reason to sign up for the local version (not that Netflix will necessarily care; punters pay the roughly the same for either service).*
Speaking to NBR pre-launch, Netflix exec Cliff Edwards openly acknowledged Netflix NZ would be a subset of Netflix US.
However, Edwards emphasised his company is it in it for the long haul. It will challenge Sky TV and others for local content rights as contracts expire over the next couple of years.
Edwards said Sky had scored a lot of it's content cheaply, but would be up against Netflix in future bidding wars.
Netflix' goal is to have one global TV channel, with pretty much the same content in every country, he said.
Such a globally uniform service will stop geo-block busters and, more, allow Netflix to place king-hit bids for global rights to TV series or movies that prove more economic to studios than selling rights to multiple countries and pay-TV operators individually.
Netflix certainly has deep pockets to help make that happen. The company has 57 million subscribers worldwide, with millions being added every quarter. Last year it made $US268 million profit on $US5.5 billion revenue. Its market cap sits at $US25 billion.
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* Quickflix and others have called for an end to "back-door" access to Netflix US from NZ. Netflix chief product officer Neil Hunt told NBR it just isn't possible to police people using geo-block busting software to skirt his company's terms and conditions. "There's not a lot we can do to stop some accessing the US. We don't intend to do anything differently. There's not much we can do," he said.
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