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Netflix to launch locally in March 2015

NetflixMovie and TV subscriptions streaming service Netflix has announced it will expand into Australia and New Zealand in March 2015.

The official announcement follows the streaming giant appointing a creative and social media agency earlier this mont, with execs admitting interest in the Australian and New Zealand market in October.

Today’s announcement includes several shows it will have exclusively in the territory, however there are question marks hanging over some of the other premium content which makes the US service attractive to subscribers in Australia.

Mumbrella understands Droga5 has been handed creative duties for the brand in Australia following a pitch, whilst We Are Social, which also handles the account in the US and UK, will lead the social media push. Pulse PR are handling the streaming service’s PR locally.

At launch Netflix will offer local users original series such as Marco Polo and BoJack Horseman, kids titles such as DreamWorks Animation’s All Hail King Julien, documentaries Virunga and Mission Blue, stand up comedy specials Uganda Be Kidding Me, Live from Chelsea Handler and Jim Jeffrie’s Bare.

The Netflix ANZ selection will expand in 2015 to also include original series family thriller Bloodline, super hero tale Marvel’s Daredevil, thriller series Sense8 and from the creator of Friends, Grace and Frankie.

The streaming service will be available at launch on smart TVs, tablets and smartphones, computers and a range of internet-capable game consoles and set-top boxes.

Netflix has not announced pricing yet, with details to be made available at a later date.

At the ASTRA conference in September Shaun James, the head of Presto, said Netflix will be an “inferior” service in the local market because many of the premium rights for studios including HBO are already sewn-up with local providers.

The announcement of the local expansion follows on from Stephen Langsford, the boss of Australian-based SVOD service Quickflix challenging its US-rival to “come through the front door” to the Australian market and cut off access for an estimated 200,000 local subscribers using VPNs to access the US version of Netflix.

Netflix is set to stir up the local market, with it competing with Nine Entertainment Co’s joint venture with Fairfax StreamCo, to be known as Stan, which announced earlier this month that it had secured streaming rights to Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul.

Meanwhile Foxtel also this month launched its video-on-demand offering BoxSets, with speculation Networks Ten and Seven could be set to join its Presto streaming subscription service.

Netflix have declined to answer questions around streaming rights to Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, plans to produce local content, staffing details and if the streaming giant plans to cut of existing Australian users using VPNs to access the US version of Netflix.

Miranda Ward

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