Netflix on the prowl for Oz/NZ rights
Two Netflix acquisition executives are due to spend most of next week in Sydney, another sign that the US streaming giant plans to launch Down Under.
The Netflix reps are meeting with the Australian-based distributors including the US majors and leading independents, IF understands.
Netflix initiated discussions for Australian/NZ rights to movies and series with the Hollywood studios during the Los Angeles Screenings in May.
Its low-cost, “all you can eat” streaming service is expected to launch in Oz/NZ in the first or second quarter of 2015. The monthly fee is likely to be $10 or below, the same price that Nine Entertainment plans to charge for its subscription VoD service known internally as StreamCo.
In an investor presentation in May, StreamCo CEO Mike Sneesby said his service, due to launch in fiscal 2015, had a target audience of 1.4 million households . His conservative estimate is for an SVOD market of 2.4 million subscribers within four years, out of the 6.5 million that do not subscribe to pay-TV.
Ilustrating the potential of SVOD, he cited Netflix’s penetration rate of 28% of households in the US, where it amassed 32 million subs in four years.
Sneesby said Stream Co. had signed major content deals, technology contracts had been awarded and distribution agreements were progressing. But he did project an investment of $50 million- $65 million before the service breaks even.
A Netflix spokesman declined to comment on the acquisition mission. In May he did not rule out an eventual push Down Under, telling IF, “We do hope to be everywhere someday."
One Australian pay-TV executive tells IF he expects Netflix to launch here in the third quarter of 2015. But he notes Netflix will face a challenge in acquiring the rights to a lot of high-profile TV content because Foxtel has SVOD deals for a batch of shows including Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones, Mad Men and Orange is the New Black.