New Zealand ‘very attractive’ for Netflix

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Netflix has expressed interest in launching in New Zealand, United States reports say.

Chief content officer Ted Sarandos detailed a possible expansion across Asia during a speech at the Mipcom entertainment conference in Cannes, France.

He described Australia and New Zealand as “very attractive territories”, Variety magazine reported.

Another report said Netflix would launch in both countries during the second quarter of next year.

Studio HBO, which provides much of the content for Sky’s premium SoHo entertainment channel, has meanwhile announced plans to launch its own internet television service in the US, going over the head of traditional TV companies.

The developments appear to be a double whammy for Sky Television as it attempts to maintain its strong grip on New Zealand’s pay-television market.

Sky is believed to have secured the New Zealand streaming rights to at least some of HBO’s programming, which includes Game of Thrones, for its forthcoming standalone internet TV service, seemingly ruling out HBO from offering its streaming service here in the medium term.

However, there is unknown risk that Kiwi viewers could use “anti-geo-blocking services” such as GlobalMode or overseas-based “virtual private networks” to sign up to HBO’s US service.

GlobalMode is offered as a free service by internet providers Slingshot and Orcon.

HBO’s internet TV service will start next year at a price that has yet to be announced.

Netflix shares took a big hit in the wake of disappointing subscriber growth and confirmation it will have a new direct competitor in HBO.

Its stock plunged 26 per cent in after-hours trading on the US’ Nasdaq exchange.

The company blamed a US$1 price rise to US$8.99 a month for discouraging new sign-ups.

It lured 3.02 million new streaming customers globally, against the 3.69 million it projected in July.

Netflix attracted about 980,000 new customers in the US, down from 1.29 million in the same period a year earlier.


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