Want Netflix? Don’t hold your breath

22 May, 2014 by Don Groves

Australians who are keen to see Netflix enter Australia with its cheap monthly fee for unlimited streaming of film and TV content probably should not hold their breath.

Wednesday's announcement that Netflix plans to expand into France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg later this year shows the US streaming giant’s focus is firmly on Europe.

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Netflix, which has 34 million subscribers in the US who pay $US8.99 per month, already has a strong presence in the UK, Ireland, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden and Holland.

As IF has noted, Australian pay-TV executives theorise that Netflix has between 100,000 and 150,000 subscribers in Australia who circumvent the geoblock by using a virtual private network (VPN), which can show a computer’s location is based in the US.  Foxtel has asked the US majors to bring pressure to bear on Netflix to try to curb this piracy.

The Australian has reported there are talks between Optus, Freeview, Quickflix and the Seven Network about partnering with Netflix for an Australian service.

That scenario is viewed sceptically by Australian pay-TV operators who point out Optus retails Fetch TV’s comprehensive film and TV service. Netflix could have bought Quickflix any time it wanted and Seven is thought to be negotiating to join the Nine Network’s looming SVoD service known internally as StreamCo.

One industry figure tells IF, “I honestly can’t see Netflix expanding here while they are having cash burn issues in the international business, Europe is their focus and there is no immediate desire from studios to see more SVoD services in Australia.

“Netflix may come eventually but because of the high cost of content pricing here, European markets make more sense.”

Quickflix executive chairman Stephen Langsford tells IF, "There seems to be a fascination about whether or not Netflix will come to Australia—which is a small market for them. The reality I think is that there will be multiple over the top services like Quickflix streaming in the market here in time.

"The evidence from the US where there a number of service providers like Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime etc is that consumers are opting for more than one service. Each service is distinguished by the content they carry, the devices they’re available on, etc. We think establishing a beachhead quickly and growing is name of the game in Australia."

Netflix routinely declines to comment on speculation. Asked if there were any firm plans to launch in Oz,  a Netflix spokesman tells IF today, "Not yet, but we do hope to be everywhere someday."

 

 

 

 

 

 

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  • Charles

    I think it’s a bit rich for Foxtel to call subscribing to Netflix via VPN ‘Piracy’… Their business model is outdated. I want to watch the content I want to see WHEN I want to see it. I’m happy to pay for content (hence it not being piracy) but I refuse to play by Foxtel’s rules.

    This country has been a rip-off for far too long, and we’re (as in Australian’s) are getting sick of it!

  • Jessica

    Totally agree. The way I see it, is it’s not piracy if you are paying for the service. And regarding the VPN, it’s such a legal grey area. Let’s face it. If they don’t update their business model and come to the party people will just continue to download content illegally. Look what happened when people couldn’t get Game of Thrones on iTunes!!

  • Frank Benson

    lo piracy when you actually pay for the content?
    How about foxtel it’s pay TV but you get ads as well – crazy!
    I use this method http://www.whatisnetflix.com.au – works well been doing it for years 🙂

  • anthony salamon

    It’s not piracy when you pay for it as others are saying.
    If Australian content producers had access to services like Netflix, Hulu etc. they would have more avenues for distribution that would constitute local content – in line with current media regulations. This would also encourage Netflix to create jobs in Australia and possibly lead to original content being produced by Netflix and other streaming services here in OZ. Its a WIN WIN for everyone, except Foxtel who will of course lose market share, and thats what all of this is really about, a crappy Pay-TV service with ads that doesn’t want to lose any revenue or the current monopoly they have on TV services. Why are we not encouraging a deal with streaming services??
    I for one say open Australia up to all streaming services and stop blocking us form everything. We are already at a disadvantage being so far from other countries, why make the world smaller by blocking us from viewing content from there as well. I can almost guarantee that there would be less actual piracy through things like torrents, if people here could get services like Netflix and Hulu as they would be able to stream the shows they are illegally downloading without fear of prosecution.
    We should be making a case to these services that in order to control and curb global piracy, their service MUST exist everywhere.

  • Jessica

    If foxtel already has the Australian rights. Surely they should negotiate with netfilx to get the best for both of them. Netflix gains viewing rights and foxtel gains a good streaming service.

  • Greg

    Just a tip Getflix streaming seems to be a lot better than unblockus and is cheaper
    You can join netflix and other sites at http://www.getflix.com.au

    Streaming TV is pretty well all we watch in our house I even have it in my shed via wifi
    A Samsung wireless bluray is all you need to get things happening if you dont have a smart TV
    Also the Samsung bluray has PLEX which is awesome when you get it sorted