Netflix is preparing to launch its low-cost, “all you can eat” streaming service in Australia and New Zealand in the first quarter of 2015, according to executives at the US studios.

The US streaming giant has denied it has set a date to enter Australia but it has begun negotiating for the Australasian rights to US films and series, IF understands.

“They are engaging with the studios,” says one US executive, who is convinced a Q1 launch is planned.

The monthly fee for unlimited streaming is expected to be $10 or below, the same price that Nine Entertainment plans to charge for its Subscription VoD service known internally as StreamCo.

That lowball pricing would put pressure on Foxtel, whose SVoD movie service Presto, which launched in April and costs $19.95 a month, has had a poor take-up. Presto’s prospects may be enhanced soon when Google launches Chromecast, a device which enables online channels and videos to be viewed on big screen TVs.

One executive believes Foxtel is already planning to reprice and package its services, recognising the costs are too expensive as subscription levels are stuck at 30% of TV homes.

Netflix would also be formidable competition for Quickflix, which introduced a $9.99 streaming-only offer in April.

Last week’s announcement that Netflix plans to expand into France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Luxembourg later this year seemed to make an Australian launch unlikely in the short-to-medium term.

But IF has since spoken to several executives who have been dealing with Netflix and have been told a Q1 2015 start-up is being planned.

No one should doubt Netflix’s deep resources. The firm has 49.8 million subscribers globally, 72% of them in the US.  It posted a $US201 million profit for the quarter to the end of March.

A Netflix spokesman today declined to comment on speculation but last week did not rule out an eventual push Down Under, telling IF, “We do hope to be everywhere someday."

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