Netflix dominates the US online movie and TV rental market and is integrated into all sorts of devices, but isn’t officially available for Australian consumers (unless you fancy messing around with VPN and credit card details). That might change with news the company is exploring ISP deals for a potential local launch.
Aside from regional movie licensing deals, the big stumbling block for Netflix is that unlike the US, the majority of ISPs in Australia don’t offer unlimited data, which can make viewing streaming movies and shows an expensive business. Yes, there are some unlimited plans and a lot which offer 1 terabyte, but even that can go pretty quickly if you’re downloading gigabytes of HD viewing.
The NBN will improve delivery speeds, but won’t in itself solve the data problem. The solution adopted by current providers in Australia is to offer unmetered downloads through a specific ISP; for instance, Telstra doesn’t count content through its BigPondMovies service, an approach also taken by FetchTV partners such as iiNet and Internode.
Fran Foo at AustralianIT reports that Netflix is interested in signing up ISP partners for a launch within the next 12-18 months, though there’s no detail on which ISPs might be involved or exactly when a launch might happen.
The biggest challenge would be finding an ISP which doesn’t already have a rival offering. As mentioned, Telstra is concentrating on its BigPond Movies and T-Hub download services, especially after selling off its physical DVD rental business to Quickflix. FetchTV has agreements with most of the other top-tier ISPs. So while Netflix would be an interesting addition to the local scene, I won’t be holding my breath.
Netflix in talks for local tie-ups [AustralianIT]