Streams of Blood

THE PEOPLE OF CUBA FINALLY HAD A TASTE OF FREEDOM on February 9 – with the launch of the Netflix streaming service throughout the Caribbean island bastion of communism.

Netflix says it will “offer a broad range of great global entertainment to Cuban consumers … as Internet access improves and credit and debit cards become more widely available.”

Es hilarante, no?

Meanwhile Down Under, the cold war is starting to heat up with the anticipated launch of the service into Australia and New Zealand in March 2015.

Unconfirmed reports price Netflix in ANZ at around AUD$10.00/month placing it in line with Fairfax/Nine’s Stan and Foxtel/Seven West Media’s Presto TV or Presto Movies ($14.99/month for both).

The “11 year old start-up” that is Quickflix is available for $29.99 a month (after 3-week free trial) while EzyFlix and BigPond Movies offer on demand pricing for a range of movie and TV titles, and there are other broadband bundled services such as Fetch TV and Telstra’s T-Box. Not to mention various free catch-up services via ABC iView and Freeview Plus.

In an already overcrowded market, there are two main problems:
• Human bandwidth or available eyeball time; and
• Rights to content.

Presto Movies is able to tap into content from MGM, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Roadshow Films, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Entertainment One Films Australia, ICON, Studiocanal and Transmission Films.

Presto TV, meanwhile, has access to the likes of HBO, SHOWTIME, CBS Studios International, Viacom International Media Networks and Hasbro Studios as well as local content from Foxtel, Seven Network and ABC Commercial.

For its part, Stan has rights to content from Sony Pictures Television (including Breaking Bad spin-off show Better Call Saul), Viacom International Media Networks (including shows from Nickelodeon, Nick Jr., Comedy Central and MTV), BBC Worldwide, CBS Studios and ABC Commercial – politically, as we know, the ABC cannot favour one side or the other.

Netflix ANZ will include such original series as Marco Polo, BoJack Horseman and, among many kids titles, DreamWorks Animation’s All Hail King Julien.

Netflix ANZ will reportedly launch with the third season of its North American flagship, House of Cards, the previous two seasons having been exclusive to Foxtel. This resolves a situation which has impacted the service in other international territories such as France.
The other challenge for Netflix is “converting” the unpublicised, but supposedly not insubstantial number of existing ANZ subscribers who are circumventing current geo-blocking arrangements and getting them to pay the same for access to less content, else expose itself to legal disputes with local right holders.

Whether Netflix achieves dominance over its strong local rivals or not – there will be blood.

Thanks for Reading

Phil Sandberg

T: +61-(0)414 671 811