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Netflix and Foxtel to battle for Australians in 2015

NewsKevin Perry
  Netflix intends to launch in Australia in early 2015

Netflix intends to launch in Australia in early 2015

It now appears a certainty that US based VoD (Video On Demand) provider Netflix will be launching an Australian service in early 2015 with the boss of Village Roadshow confirming they are negotiating a content deal with the company.

In an interview with Josh Taylor in ZDNet, Graham Burke, the co-CEO of Village Roadshow stated,

"[On] Netflix, they're talking to our people about supply of products, so they are opening and coming to Australia," 

Media website reported in late May that Netflix 'has begun negotiating for the Australasian rights to US films and series' with the intention of launching in Australia and New Zealand in the first quarter of 2015

The question now is exactly what content Netflix will be able to bring to an Australian audience, while the company has a presence in many parts of Europe and South America, the variety and quality of content it provides in each of these markets varies wildly.

  Some 200,000 Australians are estimated to already be watching Netflix in their lounge rooms.  image - Netflix

Some 200,000 Australians are estimated to already be watching Netflix in their lounge rooms.
image - Netflix

Netflix will be hoping it’s big name in-house produced drama’s including House Of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, Hemlock Grove and new Marvel series Daredevil will be enough attract a large customer base.

It is estimated 200,000 Australians are already accessing Netflix in the US via various VPN options, with consumer group Choice having been hugely outspoken in encouraging Australians to combat what they call 'the monopoly' of Foxtel.

Foxtel remains confident it has done enough to ensure it will be difficult for Netflix to enter an Australian market. In December last year Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein stated publicly,

"at least five of the major studios have not given Netflix the rights to deliver content in Australia.”

While a deal with the ACCC prevents Foxtel signing exclusive deals for online content, its clear that the Pay TV company is applying plenty of pressure in Hollywood to persuade studios from signing Australian content deals with Netflix.

In the past 12 months Foxtel has launched two Internet streaming services Foxtel Play and Presto in preparation for a battle with Netflix. Foxtel Play is an internet based version of the traditional broadcast service, pricing commences at $25 but this climbs quickly particularly if viewers want access to Movie and Sport packges. Presto is a movie only VoD service that provides access to an impressive library of content from all the major film studios, often far sooner than the US based Netflix.

While Foxtel is yet to reveal any figures regarding how successful Presto has been in the marketplace, this website understands Foxtel is preparing to cut the current $19.95 subscription price and launch a new marketing campaign in preparation for the arrival of Netflix

To complicate the issue the Nine Network is also in the market place desperately trying to secure content for it’s own new VoD venture currently codenamed StreamCo. While not much is known about StreamCo it has emerged Nine have had extensive negotiations with the Seven Network regarding a joint venture, although this possibility now seems less likely.

StreamCo is expected to launch later this year with a subscription price under $12 per month. This website understands StreamCo is also considering a kids only option for $6.95 per month.

Existing Australian VoD service Quickflix recently launched a $9.99 streaming package of it own, although content selection is limited. It is understood Quickflix have also have had discussions with the Seven Network regarding a possible merger to help bolster its programming library.

An official spokesperson for Netflix has repeated the comment that Netflix have “No current plans to launch in Australia. We do want to be global, so one day we should be there, but we have no current Australia launch scheduled.”