The anticipation for the arrival of Netflix in Australia and New Zealand is nearly over, with the internet television network announcing that it will begin streaming in both countries on March 24.
Netflix said it will be offering a standard-definition plan, two-stream high-definition plan, and four-stream 4K ultra-HD "family plan", with more details on pricing to be made available at launch.
As part of the launch, the company has signed an un-metering agreement with iiNet, which will enable its broadband and iiNet TV with Fetch customers to stream movies and TV shows from Netflix without any usage counting towards their monthly quota.
Similarly, Optus has confirmed that consumer broadband customers will be able to access as much Netflix content as they want without metering.
In a separate agreement with Vodafone New Zealand, mobile users who sign up to specific plans will receive several months of prepaid service.
Meanwhile, consumers purchasing Microsoft's Xbox One at select stores across Australia and New Zealand will receive for a limited time three months of prepaid access to Netflix, starting on March 24.
ZDNet broke the news of the arrival of Netflix to Australia and New Zealand in June 2014, when Village Roadshow said it was in talks with the US streaming giant for a local launch.
However, while at face value Netflix arriving in Australia and New Zealand is good news, those expecting that it will be a solution to end online copyright infringement or will offer the same service that US counterparts receive may be disappointed. During negotiations, Village Roadshow highlighted that the company would need to sign new content deals in Australia before it can offer anywhere near the amount of content currently available on the US service.
Unlike when Netflix launched in Europe and subscribers were left without Netflix-produced show House of Cards because the rights to it were locked up with local cable companies, Netflix has announced that subscribers in Australia and New Zealand will have access to all three seasons of the political drama.
However, there has been no mention of whether Australia and New Zealand will see Orange is the New Black, another TV show produced by Netflix, as part of the catalogue. In Australia, Foxtel previously held the rights to Netflix-only TV shows.
Netflix stated that Australian and New Zealand audiences will have access to a "curated selection" of movies and TV shows, as well as a range of exclusive and licensed content from Roadshow Entertainment, Beyond Distribution, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC), and The Walt Disney Company.
Netflix will be accessible on a range of smart televisions manufactured by Samsung, LG, Sony, Panasonic, Philips, and Hisense, and game consoles including the PlayStation 3 and 4, Microsoft's Xbox 360 and Xbox One, and Nintendo's Wii U. It can also be streamed on Apple TV, Google Chromecast, and Apple and Android tablets and smartphones.
March 24 will also mark the launch data of when Netflix gift cards in denominations of AU$20, AU$30, and AU$50 will be sold at participating Australian retailers, including Woolworths, Coles, Big W, 7-Eleven, Australia Post, and Officeworks.
"Many Aussies and Kiwis have heard a lot about Netflix over the years, and we're excited they'll get to experience our unique blend of Netflix original content, local series and films, and popular movies and TV shows from around the world, all for a low monthly price," said Reed Hastings, Netflix co-founder and chief executive officer.
The arrival of Netflix to the region will mean greater competition for those already in the internet streaming game, such as Quickflix, which reported on Monday a net operating loss of AU$8.6 million for the first half of the year ending December 2014.