The initiative positions Netflix for an interesting fight: Only about 30% of Australian households subscribe to pay TV, far less than in the U.S. and even less than in the UK, where about half subscribe. Australia’s leading distributor, Foxtel, expected to see some competition from streaming services and recently halved the price of its basic service. And there’ll be more than one online subscription VOD provider. Nine and Fairfax Media have said that within a year they will introduce a Netflix-like service called StreamCo.
Netflix investors are divided about its overseas expansion — the service is available through North and South America, Denmark, Finland, Ireland, The Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the UK, France, Switzerland, Austria, Belgium, and Germany. Although it adds to the company’s subscriber base, some question whether the revenues are high enough justify the additional costs. But CFO David Wells told analysts last month that “we’ve made great progress” and it’s been “a very good investment” although “the economics are very different market to market.” As much as 20% of the content offered in each country is produced locally, with the rest coming largely from Hollywood.
Netflix says that its original series to be offered in Australia and New Zealand will include Marco Polo, BoJack Horseman and DreamWorks Animations’All Hail King Julien. The library will expand next year to include a Bloodline, Marvels Daredevil, Sense8, and Babylon 5.
It will offer more info about pricing, programming and supported devices “at a later date.”