You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Netflix Seems Headed for Australia, But Company Won’t Say When

Content availability, piracy, and other priorities may be delaying the 'Down Under' debut

HONG KONG — It doesn’t quite have the pop culture ring of “I Want My MTV,” but plenty of Australians are clamouring for Netflix to launch ‘Down Under.’

There are growing signs that they will get their wish as a Netflix launch in Australia becomes a probablility, rather than a mere possibility. Some time in 2015 maybe. But, infuriatingly, the online video giant remains quiet on exactly when.

Last week the CEO of Australia’s Village Roadshow, Graham Burke revealed that his company is in talks to license rights to Netflix. “Netflix, they’re talking to our people about supply of products, so they are opening and coming to Australia,” he said in an interview with ZDnet.

In an interview with another tech website CNet, Burke added “it is pretty widely known that Netflix is opening operation in Australia next year.”

Recent speculation has suggested that Netflix could launch in Australia in the first or second quarter of 2015. But other reports have pointed to the company pushing that until late 2015 as it concentrates first on building up its operations in Europe.

Inside Film magazine reports that Netflix began content licensing discussions with Hollywood suppliers during May’s LA Screenings, and that two executives from the firm are due to visit Sydney next week.

Securing the content the company wants may be a tricky task. Australian rights to several high profile shows are held by other players. Even Netflix-backed “House of Cards” and “Orange Is The New Black” are held by pay-TV leader Foxtel. Foxtel is also understood to have the SVoD rights to “Mad Men,” and “Game of Thrones.”

The reports of Netflix’s Australia venture come at a time when the high rates of movie piracy in Australia, and movie release dates, have once again become major talking points.

Australian and Hollywood content owners in 2012 lost a series of court battles with Internet Service Provider iiNet, which they unsuccessfully argued encouraged piracy. The ISPs and iiNet have contended that the film industry has let itself down, and effectively encouraged piracy, by not making content legally available earlier and in an easier fashion.

A rash of independents and conglomerates have attempted to fill that perceived gap – and pushed Netflix to the back of the queue.

In March, Foxtel launched its own subscription service Presto offering access to its library and acquired content for A$19.99 per month, more than double Netflix’s $7.99 fee in the U.S. Others including EzyFlix and QuickFlix have also launched and Nine Entertainment is expected to debut its StreamCo service later this year.

However, Netflix may already have a certain taste of the Australian market.

According to some estimates, as many as 200,000 Australian households are already using Netflix’s U.S. service. They do so by using a virtual private network (VPN) or a browser fix that appears to locate them in North America and then paying the monthly fee.

Netflix has so far refused to be drawn on when it will launch in Australia. Its next quarterly results presentation on July 21 may be an opportunity to do so.

More Biz

  • Kevin Tsujihara

    Kevin Tsujihara's Ouster Kicks Off a Week of Major Disruption in the Media Business

    The sudden ouster of Warner Bros. Entertainment chief Kevin Tsujihara kicked off what is likely to go down as one of the most extraordinary weeks in Hollywood history, spelling enormous turmoil and transition across the media landscape. In addition to the news about Tsujihara, which comes amid a wider shake-up of leadership at AT&T’s WarnerMedia, [...]

  • Disney Fox mega deal acquisition Illustration

    Disney Closes $71 Billion 21st Century Fox Deal

    Before the end of the East Coast airing of “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”, Disney has formally sealed the deal on its $71 billion acquisition of 21st Century Fox. “This is an extraordinary and historic moment for us — one that will create significant long-term value for our company and our shareholders,” Disney chairman-CEO Bob Iger said [...]

  • Chinese Tech Firm Huawei Seeks Content

    Beleaguered Chinese Tech Firm Huawei Seeks Content for Expansion Into Southeast Asia

    One of the most surprising first-time attendees at FilMart is Chinese tech giant Huawei, which has come to Hong Kong to acquire the video content it needs to support its strategy of expansion into Southeast Asia. The company is currently embroiled in a PR nightmare as it defends itself against accusations that its equipment could [...]

  • Viacom HQ LA

    Viacom Goes to War With AT&T Over DirecTV Carriage Deal

    Viacom has declared war against AT&T, blasting the telco giant on several fronts as the companies wrestle over a carriage renewal deal that is vital to Viacom’s long-term financial health. As of today, Viacom has begun running crawls and promo spots on its channels warning viewers that Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, BET, MTV and other channels [...]

  • Peloton Sued for $150 Million for

    Peloton Sued for $150 Million for Using Drake, Lady Gaga Music Without License

    A group of publishers including Downtown Music Publishing, Pulse Music Publishing, ole, peermusic, Ultra Music, Big Deal Music, Reservoir, Round Hill, TRO Essex Music Group and The Royalty Network filed a lawsuit against Peloton for infringement of more than a thousand musical works, according to a statement from the National Music Publishers Association. The plaintiffs are [...]

  • Bruce Ramer Re-Appointed to Corporation for

    Bruce Ramer Re-Appointed to Corporation for Public Broadcasting Board

    Top showbiz attorney Bruce Ramer has been reappointed to the board of the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, the nonprofit org that administers federal funding for public broadcasting. Ramer, a partner at Gang, Tyre, Ramer, Brown & Passman, was elected chair of the CPB board in October. He previously served as board chair from 2010-2012. His [...]

  • Gary Knell

    Listen: National Geographic Chief Gary Knell on Disney Future, Fox's Legacy

    The marriage of National Geographic Partners and Disney, which becomes official today, is the proverbial brand match made in heaven. Disney is taking over the stewardship of Nat Geo Partners — a joint venture with the National Geographic Society — as part of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox. The transition comes at a time [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content