We’ve known Netflix was on it’s way to Australia for some time, but this morning we’ve had official confirmation of a launch date. From March 24th, 2015 Australia and New Zealand will get their first (official) taste of movie and tv streaming service, Netflix.
Netflix will be available on all major Australian broadband operators however customers of iiNet, the nation’s second-largest DSL Internet provider, will be able to enjoy Netflix without the data counting against home data caps. This is the first un-metering agreement announced with a major broadband provider in Australia and let’s hope it’s not the last. Internationally, Netflix makes up a large part of the data use of Netflix households, so for that to be unmetered would ensure you don’t have to limit usage to avoid hitting your cap.
“Offering our customers quota-free access to Netflix is yet another demonstration of iiNet’s commitment to providing our customers great, hassle-free entertainment experiences,” said David Buckingham, chief executive officer of iiNet. “iiNet is proud to facilitate consumers’ access to this great entertainment service.”
Netflix apps will also launch on smart televisions manufactured by Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic, Philips and HiSense, and Fetch TV’s second-generation set-top box. Film and TV fans can also access Netflix on game consoles, including Sony’s PS3 and PS4, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Xbox One, and Nintendo’s Wii U, as well as Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Apple and Android tablets and smartphones. This extensive device support is unparalleled and a stark difference over anything on offer by competing streaming services Presto and Stan.
Mobile users who sign up for specific plans offered by Vodafone in New Zealand will receive several months of prepaid service, whilst consumers purchasing Microsoft’s next generation console, the Xbox One, at select stores will receive three months prepaid access to the Netflix service, starting 24 March and for a limited time only.
“Xbox has a long association with Netflix around the world, and with this announcement we’re excited to bring our partnership to the millions of Xbox owners across Australia and New Zealand,” said Jeremy Hinton, business group lead for Interactive Entertainment at Microsoft Australia. “With Xbox One we are committed to delivering the best entertainment experience in Australian and New Zealand living rooms.”
From launch, consumers will be able to purchase Netflix gift cards in denominations of $20, $30 and $50 at participating Australian retailers, including Woolworths, Coles, Big W, 7-Eleven, Australia Post and Officeworks. Netflix will offer a single-stream standard definition plan, two-stream high-definition plan and four-stream 4K ultra-high definition “family” plan. Details on monthly pricing will be available at launch.
Internet-connected users will be able to subscribe to Netflix and instantly watch a curated selection of popular movies and TV shows in high-definition or Ultra HD 4K where available. In addition to Netflix original series including Marco Polo, the dramatic thriller Sense8; Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt; Marvel’s Daredevil; DreamWorks Animation’s The Adventures of Puss in Boots and All Hail King Julien, and the Academy Award-nominated documentary Virunga, members will also enjoy an exciting range of exclusive and licensed content from many of the world’s leading distributors, including Roadshow Entertainment, Beyond Distribution, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and The Walt Disney Company.
That ‘curated selection’ is the biggest remaining question of the local Netflix launch. With much of the content licensing already signed away to pay TV provided Foxtel, the Australian content lineup is likely to be far short of the US offering. Current estimates are that hundreds of thousands of Australian’s already use Netflix via VPN services to appear as a US customer.
The final question is of course price and as yet, we don’t have any new information on that from Netflix. We can expect local pricing closer to launch, later this month.
Update: Netflix has confirmed pricing will be ‘similar’ to other markets. In the US, Netflix costs US$7.99/month to watch on 2 screens in HD, or US$11.99/month for 4 screens and UltraHD (or 4K) where available). Given Australia’s GST would need to be added to that, we could reasonable expect a 10% increase on these prices to land somewhere close to what you’ll pay. US$7.99/m + 10% = US$8.789, then US to AUD currency conversion AUD$11.3278. If Netflix is to hit a similar $8-10/month price in Australia, they’d be making a business decision to wear some of that cost.
If we look at what happened with Netflix pricing in other markets, then the US$7.99 became 5.99 pounds per month. That number is interesting given a US to GBP conversion equals 5.20 and they have a 20% VAT which takes the number to 6.24/month. That means Netflix are taking a hit on pricing in the UK.
Netflix ANZ has also fired up a range of associated social media accounts, you can follow them below: