Netflix could make its way to Australia in 2014 on the back of high volumes of unauthorised Australian users, according to a report by The Australian.
The popular streaming digital media service is apparently eyeing off an Australian release, estimating that 20,000 Australians already subscribed to the geo-locked service by using VPN services like MediaHint.
The Australian reports that the streaming giant has previously been uninterested in Australia due to our smaller population and poor internet infrastructure, and that it had intended to finish its expansion in Europe first.
Thanks in part to those 20k Aussies that have gone out of their way to dodge legal blocks in order to pay for the service, Netflix is reportedly starting to take notice. A faster than expected expansion in Europe has also allowed the streaming giant to start planning its next steps ahead of plan.
Why this is important
Australians’ options for streamed video content are vastly limited. With the exception of services like Quickflix, which doesn’t have the biggest library; or with ABC iView, which only re-streams ABC and BBC content; it’s no surprise that Aussies have opted to look overseas to services like Netflix.
The only other legal alternative is turning to Pay TV like Foxtel, which is expensive by comparison and has limited on-demand content.
There's also illegal downloads to consider. A legitimate and easy-to-use service like Netflix can go a long way in the fight against piracy. Wendy Benfeld, founder of European VOD consultancy Rights Stuff, reportedly stated that the first time US piracy was overtaken by a legitimate service, thanks to Netflix. The suggestion here is that a large driving force of online piracy isn't just price, but ease of access. Netflix allows users to watch what they want, when they want. Australians are still relying on timed TV programming to dish out their content.
Injecting Netflix in to the mix would force Australian PayTV and streaming networks to start providing a better experience for a cheaper price. It could also allow Aussies access to quality, affordable content without resorting to less scrupulous practices. Improving competition for video content within Australia while potentially driving down piracy at the same time would be a boon for both Australians and for content publishers.
How Netflix works
Netflix is a very simple service. You pay your monthly fee and in return have access to all its content. There’s no packages that make you choose between one sports and sci-fi, nor do you have to pay to ‘rent’ movies each time you watch them.
There’s a variety of content ranging from TV to movies to documentaries. Content can be new and very popular, or it can be old and obscure. If you like you can search by genre, or by a variety of different listing methods.
You can even create multiple personalised ‘channels’ within a single subscription. This is handy for households with more than one person. That way each member can save things they’re in the middle of watching, or want to watch later, without cluttering up the experience of everyone else.
Not everything is available in HD, but most content comes out looking as good as or even better than DVD quality. HD content maxes out at 1080p and requires a pretty fast connection to run.