American TV and movie streaming giant, Netflix, has announced monthly pricing plans for its Australian services, which launch tomorrow.
A single-stream standard definition plan costs $8.99, a two-stream high definition plan costs $11.99, and a four-stream 4K ultra-high definition plan costs $14.99.
Nextflix said it is offering new members a free one-month trial of the service.
The company has slightly undercut rival Presto, which charges $9.99 for a standard definition service. Presto is backed by Foxtel and Seven Network. Stan, which is backed by Nine Network and Fairfax Media, costs $10 per month for a high-definition service.
Netflix users in Australia will get access to licensed content from Warner Bros, BBC, FOX, NBC Universal, Village Roadshow Entertainment, Beyond Distribution, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, and The Walt Disney Company.
Users will be able to watch Netflix’s original series, and comedy specials and documentaries, including thriller Bloodline, which features local actor Ben Mendelsohn; Marco Polo, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, and Australian comedian, Jim Jefferies.
Many of the Netflix titles are available in high-definition Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 surround sound and Ultra HD-4K. Members can stream on nearly any Internet-connected screen including smart televisions, Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Apple iOS, Windows and Android tablets and smartphones.
The service will also be available on Fetch TV’s second-generation set-top box, and games consoles including the Sony Playstation 3 and 4, Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Xbox One, and Nintendo’s Wii U.
The Netflix service is available from all major broadband providers in Australia and New Zealand. The company earlier this month announced ‘un-metering’ agreements with iiNet and Optus, which provides users with quota-free access to the service.
Telecommunications analyst, Paul Budde, said there are around one million people in Australia using streaming services and many of them will be interested in sampling Netflix and will do so during the first month of free service.
He said Netflix's entry into Australia will shake up the pay TV market where churn is high and many people are considering 'cutting the cord' or cancelling their service in favour of a streaming provider. Between 6 and 10 per cent of Foxtel users in some markets overseas have done this, he said.
"In all reality however, this in itself will not result in a big increase in video streaming; [the increase] will be more driven by access to high speed broadband and affordable broadband packages and that level of growth will be much slower. However, with every extension of the NBN, video streaming will also grow," he said.
Still, Netflix's global reach and budgets will, over time, be a real threat to local companies that don't have the same scale, he said.
Budde said Foxtel will continue to dominate the market for local sport programming. Foxtel has sown up this market and little will change because "people are prepared to pay for it, be it grudgingly," he said.
"Unlike its counterparts in the US and Europe – where pay TV penetration is over 90 per cent - Foxtel has failed to increase its penetration above the 25 to 30 per cent because of its high subscription rates," Budde said.
"This means the potential for video entertainment is huge - 70 to 75 per cent - depending on high-speed broadband. Videostreaming will start filling this gap, so it has a golden future ahead."
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