Netflix will launch its streaming video service in Australia on 31 March with a three-tier pricing system that starts at $9.99 per month, according to reports.
TechGuide.com.au is reporting that this is what has been confirmed by two un-named sources while attending CES 2015 in Las Vegas this week. Netflix were also present at CES 2015, and were apparently unwilling to confirm anything much in relation to a possible (and considered likely) Australian expansion.
Australia already has some form of access to streaming video and TV shows through services like Google Play, iTunes, Presto and Quickflix, but none likely match the popularity of Netflix which has a huge user base overseas.
Whether Netflix will be as popular here, when launched locally, remains to be seen. Lacking from an Australian launch will be popular titles such as Orange is the New Black due to existing licensing agreements (with Foxtel, in that instance) which will make any break into the Australian Market a tough one.
However, while the first twelve months may be tumultuous, once licensing agreements expire or come up for renewal, content deals could go anywhere, and Netflix may seek to capitalise on this. In promising news, Netflix spokesman Cliff Edwards told news.com.au earlier today that they looked to sign global distribution agreements with rights-holders these days, instead of individual countries and regions. Edwards also noted that if the right opportunity came up to produce Australian TV, Netflix would be interested in that, too.
Foxtel doesn’t seem to be too worried yet, or at least that’s what it’s saying. However, its actions may speak louder than words, with recent price cuts to the base Foxtel service perhaps a sign that the company wants to be as competitive as possible before a hugely popular service like Netflix debuts in Australia.
Of course, for many, Netflix won’t exactly be new. Ausdroid has had instructions on accessing Netflix anywhere for quite some time now, and while there have been recent moves to cut off the loopholes that allowed this access to occur, the lengths that people have gone to in order to receive Netflix access shows that there’s quite the demand.
Will Netflix flourish down-under, with our ageing Internet infrastructure? With no more fibre to the premises NBN on the horizon for most Australians, and promises of only “up to 25 mbps” for services in the future, the future for Netflix in Australia is anything but certain, but we wait with bated breath to see what might be coming in less than two months time.