Australians are going ballistic over social media right now – Netflix has just announced via their media center that they will be launching their services in Australia and New Zealand coming March 15. One of my friends posting just recently on their Facebook page the exact (censored) status of: “Holy mother f***g s**t batman!!!! NETFLIX IS COMING TO AUSTRALIA !!”
Self-claimed as the “World’s Leading Internet Television Network to Offer Original Series, Movies, Documentaries, Stand-Up Comedy Specials and TV Shows for Low Monthly Price”, those outside of Australia (and some within) might not realize that most Aussies have been using Netflix already for months – through utilizing VPN software. For those who aren’t aware, in simple terms – a VPN will fool someone into thinking that you reside in a country of choice, in this case Australians will install their VPN and set it to the United States therefore making Netflix servers think they reside in the US and therefore enabling them to use their services.
A major issue that comes with Netflix opening locally is that of pricing. Australians have become used to paying a ‘premium’ for re-released product. If you take a look at gaming prices for example, a ‘standard edition’ of an A+++ publisher release can easily cost us $110 per console game and $100 per PC edition – this is comparative to around $60 US in the States. What does that say for Netflix pricing? Recently Netflix has upped their US price by $1, to $8.99 per month, comparing this to an estimated price of $15+ AU per month (and more for our New Zealand brothers).
One more issue comes in the form of rights ownership. Australian cable company Foxtel own the rights to many publishing companies material, including the popular HBO series – Game of Thrones. It’s unsure if Netflix will be able to work around this issue due to them being US-based and an online service, only time will tell.
Even if Aussies have to pay a premium service price of $15 AU for Netflix’s local offering, it’s still better than the $25 per month (on 12 month contract) offered by Foxtel. I knew there was a reason my parents always wanted to stick with ‘Free-TV’.
Image courtesy of Netflix