Netflix Headed for Australia Launch, But Local Stan Plans a Fight
The next stop in Netflix's world tour appears to be Australia. It's not a surprising move: Just last month Ted Sarandos, the subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) service's chief content officer, called the antipodes an attractive market, since both Australia and New Zealand speak English and enjoy U.S. content. Now, Australian media site Mumbrella reports that Netflix has hired two Australian marketing companies to hype the upcoming launch, and will spend AU $20 million (U.S. $17 million) on the promotion.
Factors in Netflix's favor include strong broadband penetration in Australia (98 percent of internet connections are broadband), and the fact that the company won't need to localize content for a different language.
But Netflix won't win Australia without a fight: A new streaming service dubbed Stan will soon debut down under. Stan was created by Nine Entertainment and Fairfax, and was called StreamCo when first announced in August. This week its backers decided that "Stan" was a better name. The two companies have pledged AU $50 million on the venture. Stan has already secured the rights to Breaking Bad and its upcoming spin-off series Better Call Saul. That sounds like a good get, since Breaking Bad binge-viewing was a big hit for Netflix in the U.S. Stan will show Better Call Saul episodes just hours after their U.S. premieres.
The SVOD leader has global aspirations, but is India next on its list? A rumor has local competitors scrambling to fight off the challenger.
The three countries will have access to Netflix's library of original and third-party TV shows and movies, with pricing not yet set.
Without the burden of shiny disc delivery, Netflix's streaming-only approach is cannibalizing physical media content sales in countries where internet penetration and mobile device usage is way above average.
Households in six more European countries now have access to Netflix; company will decide in 2015 where in Europe it will expand next.
Later this year, residents of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, and Switzerland will be able to sign up for Netflix streaming.