Netflix confirmed for Australian launch, says Village Roadshow CEO

According to Graham Burke, joint head of Village Roadshow, Netflix is set for a 2015 launch into the Australian market.

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CNET

According to the co-CEO of film distributor and production company Village Roadshow, behind such films as The Matrix trilogy and "The Great Gatsby", US video streaming service Netflix is definitely making a move into the Australian market.

The comments were made to CNET's sister site ZDNet, where Graham Burke told Josh Taylor that Netflix was "talking to our people about supply of products, so they are opening and coming to Australia".

While Burke didn't mention timing of the launch to Taylor, in a separate interview he told CNET's Claire Reilly that it was "pretty widely known that Netflix is opening operation in Australia next year".

Rumours have run rampant about an Australian version of Netflix for years now. Last year, The Australian reported that the number of Aussies getting around geo-block to use the service had swayed Netflix into opening locally.

Netflix has indeed been popular with Australians, who use VPNs to get the service from the US. The practice of getting around geo-blocks on content delivery services exists in a quasi-legal state. Speaking to ZDNet last year, IT lawyer for IDEALAW Matt Phipps said that while the streaming of the content would not be in violation of copyright law in Australia, breaching the terms of use to access a streaming site could be considered a crime.

The practice has also been compared to piracy, with the Australian film group ScreenLaunch saying that "viewing international video sites is no more right than bittorrent films". However, consumer watchdog Choice has recommend the use of VPNs, even offering advice on setting them up.

If Netflix does launch into Australia next year, as Burke suggests, Aussies who are already subscribers may find themselves disappointed. It's seems highly unlikely that the service will keep a monthly fee as low its current US$7.99. Distribution deals will also alter, meaning that the content offering could be significantly different locally than to the US.

No matter what happens, with the video streaming market on the rise in Australia, it will be interesting to see what the arrival of such a large player does for the local market.

 

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