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Netflix launches in Australia

(Transcript from World News Radio)


Australians can now access the US internet streaming service Netflix, the third streaming service to launch in Australia this year.



But the company has confirmed the catalogue available to Australian consumers will be much smaller than their offering in the United States.


Greg Dyett reports.


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About 200,000 Australians already subscribe to Netflix but they’ve been accessing the US catalogue by using what’s known as a Virtual Private Network (VPN).


A VPN makes their IP address appear to be located in the United States, enabling them to get around the geoblocking measures that stop people living outside the US from accessing the American Netflix library.


Using a VPN is in breach of the Netflix Terms of Service and some copyright lawyers argue it’s a breach of Australia’s Copyright Act because it enables Australians to access content that Netflix is not licensed to provide in Australia.


Subscribing to Netflix via a VPN costs about 15 dollars per month.


That’s more expensive than the subscription to the basic Netflix service now available in Australia for nine dollars per month.


One of the VPN providers has emailed its Australian customers saying the Netflix Australia offering will be around 1600 titles compared with more than 15,000 titles available to US subscribers.


Cliff Edwards from Netflix wouldn’t reveal the exact size of the Netflix Australia catalogue but did confirm that it will be smaller than what’s on offer in the US.


“We do not ever discuss quantity in any of our catalogues. We always will tell you that the US market with 40 million consumers and having been in service for seven years is always going to be larger but that is tailored to the 40 million American consumers. What we focus on is quality and quality is everything from our originals which everyone gets day and date around the world and a lot of content that again is important and tailored to the local market.”


Cliff Edwards says VPNs will eventually be a thing of the past.


“Well anybody who is using a VPN can just see for themselves. I mean at the end of the day the focus is on quality not quantity and you’re going to find a great catalogue here and be paying less money than if you were using a VPN and again with a VPN you’re not guaranteed quality of service whereas the quality of the service that you get on the local level is going to be much higher.”


Size of the catalogue aside, IT journalist Angus Kidman from Lifehacker Australia says streaming services like Netflix can be more convenient for viewers than traditional television offerings.


“An entire series is there at once so you’re no longer thinking I’ve watched this, I’ve got to wait another week for the next episode, it shows up immediately so it gives the viewer a lot more control and that’s almost as appealing as the fact that it’s really cheap.”


Netflix is undercutting the two existing streaming services with a three-tier pricing system that starts at nine dollars per month.


Rival Stan, which is owned by Fairfax and the Nine Network, is priced at 10 dollars while Presto, backed by Foxtel and the Seven Network, is $9.99 per month.


Australia’s largest subscription TV provider Foxtel says it welcomes more competition.


Bruce Meagher is Foxtel’s Director of Corporate Affairs.


“No, we’re not worried at all. We think that competition is a good thing, that the Australian consumer is learning more about subscription television services and they’ll make their own choices.”




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