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Netflix Finally Sets March 24 as Australia/NZ Launch Date

Subscription streaming service Netflix has set March 24 as the date it will begin operations in Australia and New Zealand.

At launch, Netflix will be available on all major Australian broadband operators and on a wide range of devices and platforms.

These include smart televisions from Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic, Philips and HiSense; Fetch TV’s second-generation set-top box; game consoles including Sony’s PlayStation 3 and PS4, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Xbox One, and Nintendo’s Wii U;  Apple TV and Google Chromecast; as well as Apple and Android tablets and smartphones.

The company said that it will offer three tiers of pricing, but did not provide details.

“Many Aussies and Kiwis have heard a lot about Netflix over the years, and we’re excited they’ll get to experience our unique blend of Netflix original content, local series and films, and popular movies and TV shows from around the world, all for a low monthly price,” said Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder and chief executive officer.

Australian audiences are widely understood to be open to streaming services. Several local firms have launched film and TV streaming services ahead of Netflix’s launch Down Under, and according to one recent, unverified estimate, the country already counts 200,000 illicit Netflix subscribers who get around geo-blocking by using a VPN and a U.S. credit card to access the U.S. Netflix platform.

Video-on-demand incumbents in Australia include Stan, a joint venture between Nine Network and Fairfax Media, and Presto, a joint venture between Foxtel and Seven.

Although some shows are currently licensed to other platforms, Netflix’s content in Australia will come from a range of Hollywood and local suppliers.

“In addition to Netflix original series including ‘Marco Polo,’ the dramatic thriller ‘Sense8: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’; Marvel’s ‘Daredevil’; DreamWorks Animation’s ‘The Adventures of Puss in Boots’ and ‘All Hail King Julien’; and the Academy Award-nominated documentary ‘Virunga,’ members will also enjoy an exciting range of exclusive and licensed content from many of the world’s leading distributors, including Roadshow Entertainment, Beyond Distribution, Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and the Walt Disney Company,” Netflix said.

Australia has high levels of movie and TV piracy. The recent launches of new series on Netflix and HBO have reportedly caused spikes in the levels of online piracy in Australia.

IiNet, the DSL Internet supplier that has had protracted court battles with the film industry, and has repeatedly urged the industry to improve and accelerate legal, VOD services, announced a special relationship with Netflix at launch. Its customers will have access to movies and TV shows from the Netflix catalog without hitting home data caps. It says this is “the first un-metering agreement” announced with a major broadband provider in Australia.

Netflix recently announced that it plans to launch in Japan “in the fall” this year.

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