Rumours of Aussie Netflix launch



blog Despite a successful launch in other major first-world nations such as the UK, as well as throughout Latin America, US IPTV giant Netflix has constantly signalled over the past few years its lack of interest in launching its service in Australia. However, all that may be about to change, according to The Australian newspaper, which published an article today with no hard evidence but a lot of speculation that a local launch may be on the cards. The publication reports (we recommend you click here for the full article):

“There is a growing belief that online video giant Netflix will launch in Australia next year.”

The rumours come as increasing number of Australians are taking to geo-unblocking services (VPNs) to sign up to Netflix directly, an approach recommended by Federal Parliament itself. Consumer groups such as CHOICE have also recently been appealing directly to Netflix over the lockout. There are no legal avenues apart from Foxtel for Australians to currently watch Netflix-owned series such as House of Cards and the new season of Arrested Development … an approach which seems contrary to Netflix’s whole philosophy. In addition, local rivals such as FetchTV and Quickflix are gradually gaining traction, as well as Foxtel’s own new IPTV offerings.

Will Netflix launch in Australia? I don’t personally think we’ll see it any time very soon … but I would say that a launch within 18 months to two years wouldn’t be out of the realm of possibility. At that stage, with online video growing as it is, Netflix will very likely be forced to either cede the market to local rivals or come storming in with a big offer to persuade Australians to sign up. Right now Netflix can afford to be complacent about the Australian scene. In two more years? Probably not.

Image credit: Netflix


  1. What does it mean for content licensing arrangements given the FTA now potentially being overruled by the TPP agreement? (Who knows, we aren’t allowed to read its contents apparently).

    If they’re looking to remove the geo-restrictions, offer the same service or perhaps a more localised service with cost add ons I’m keen!

  2. Netflix? Over what?

    The patchwork of networks in place at present, is a nightmare for IP based video content. Which basically means multicast is out if you are on a Telstra based network service, or in on some ISP tails, assuming you’re on their kit.

    I know FetchTV is trying to make a go of PayTV over IP – the jury is out if it’ll survive for more than another year or so if Foxtel keep pushing into IP. Remember TIVO? They keep flipping between VOD service providers, as each basically goes broke, or folds.

    Australia has moved on and found other solutions, as the market hasn’t been there to supply, to very recent times; even Netflix will struggle to gain traction.

    The dumb thing is, services like this would flourish if a multicast aware FTTN, or FTTH network was built..

    [ That’s okay though. There’s no real reason for homes to have 100mbit high-speed services, right? .. struggle to imagine what possible use there is. ]

    • Give me a break. FetchTV works fine in Australia right now for many people. I have previously had 16Mbps ADSL2+ and now have 35Mbps HFC cable.

      Australia is not all a total broadband backwater — many (millions) of us can handle Netflix right now.

      • Of course. I used FetchTV as well. I eventually dropped it back to FTA only. It was pretty cool. But the cost on a connection that sustains 18mbit, is that you have virtually nothing left.

        A few of my friends were unable to gain streaming services due to being on Bigpond or a Telstra based wholesale service.

        My point is that Netflix has the minefield of a patchwork network. A service that offers the same content, at the same time as the US would be awesome.

        My point, is that this would be happening at a far greater pace, if Australia wasn’t, to be blunt, still dicking around trying to decide how to handle high-speed internet.

        • For fuck’s sake, I really wish everyone would not constantly turn every fucking story on Delimiter into a NBN story. Most Australians can probably get Netflix right now. From Netflix’s own site:

          0.5 Megabits per second – Required broadband connection speed
          1.5 Megabits per second – Recommended broadband connection speed
          3.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for DVD quality
          5.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for HD quality
          7.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for Super HD quality
          12 Megabits per second – Recommended for 3D quality

          So 5Mbps for HD quality. Most Australians can do that. And I would point out there is no way this would saturate your 18Mbps connection.

          Also, what makes you think the US has anything less of the “patchwork” network? Yet it seems to work pretty well over there.

          Let’s base this discussion on evidence, shall we? And not bring every fucking story back to the NBN.

          Sorry, but I’ve had a gutfull of people claiming Australian broadband can’t support this style of service and therefore we need FTTP immediately.

          • It’s much more likely that they just don’t give a shit about trying to get x% of a population of 22 million when between the EU/US they have access over to a billion+….

          • I’m 800m walk from the nearest exchange, and I’m not sure I would get 5 Mbps when I wanted to watch TV.

            And with the way the lines are rolled out here, I’m not sure there is actually any solution short of That Which Cannot Be Named. I’m not sensationalising there Renai, I seriously cant see any improvement in my line that isnt hampered by how my specific area is rolled out.

            800m by road, 2km by copper line. Even a node might not work, the likely point isnt a good spot for one, with 75% of the 360 degree arc being vacant land. End result is 6 Mbps on the best of days, which isnt peak periods… Changing ISP’s wont fix that and cable isnt an option.

            Any advice?

          • Mate,

            Turnbull’s pledge is not to deploy FTTN to a certain length. It’s to provide a certain calibre of service — at least 25Mbps for most by 2016, and then at least 50Mbps for most of them by 2019. If the copper loop is too long for that they’ll extend the fibre. I’m not sure what you don’t understand about that. Your service *will* be improved. There is no scenario where it will not be.

            As for your 5Mbps broadband …

            “1.5 Megabits per second – Recommended broadband connection speed
            3.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for DVD quality”

            Did you look at the other, lesser grade services offered by Netflix? It appears you will be able to access them.

            Lastly … where do you live, if you don’t mind me asking? In a major city? On the outskirts of a city? Or on the outskirts of a regional town?


          • Before I answer, note that this isnt a complaint, its a more complete response to what you asked. All I’m saying is that there is an X-factor in play that makes planning quite difficult, and that I believe this will be more common than expected.

            I live in Wollongong’s CBD – hence the Gong part of my username. I’d consider that major enough. I live about 800m from the Wollongong exchange but by some quirk of history the copper lines do a big loop around via a secondary road to get to my property. In the end, it actually comes out at about 2kms of line my signal travels along.

            Renai, this is complicated. There are a LOT of things at play here, and I’ve spent years looking at it. I’m technically competent enough to understand how both rollouts work, and savvy enough to know why its an issue. Please dont fob me off as if I dont know what I’m talking about.

            The logical place along the copper rollout for a node to guarantee 25 Mbps only services about a quarter of its radius, which would also cover FttH areas who would be connecting to that. Do you think a 25% coverage arc makes sense? What about the FttH inside that 25% arc, reducing the overall percentage even more? I’d expect you guys to have a field day with that.

            A map and a beer, and I could show you in 5 minutes why its a problem and you’d get why I’m vocal about it. You’d also understand why Sharon Bird has pushed the FttP issue herself this week – services here are terrible. And I dont think these sorts of scenarios are actually all that uncommon.

            As for the lower standard with Netflix, sure, I can use those and probably would – I’d LOVE to have Netflix. But that wasnt the example given, it was the HD needing 5 Mbps, and all my response was pointing out was that I dont know if my connection could guarantee that, and that I dont think its an easy problem to solve without resorting to FttH.

            Its one of those times where circumstances dont fit into a simple rollout with nodes. And if it happens here, in the CBD of a decent sized city, how many other times does it happen?

            I respect that you’re pointing out that the bandwidth needs arent as much as people seem to think, which is spot on. I’ve pointed out the same a few times myself using catchup options (iView, Channel 7) as an example. Normally get a blank stare in response.

            *Edit* for reference, a speedtest done right now gives me about 6.8 Mbps down, and 0.42 Mbps up with nobody else in the house to share that with.

          • What happens if you are recording a couple of shows while watching another? I often do this with FetchTV.
            There is 15Mb at HD quality.

          • “HD” quality. I found that while super-HD worked OK (it took a fair while to buffer), it used too much of my download allowance.

            Edit: I swear I clicked Reply to your question to me below Renai…!

          • Cool, so 5mbit+.

            You don’t have to swear to disagree – I sure as heck don’t respond that way – I’d be sent packing if I did.

          • Yup. Pretty sure you would cop a serious ban if you spoke to Renai the way he is speaking to others.

          • That’s all well and good but what happens when you have more than one device in the house using the connection for that purpose. Sure most ADSL connections are capable of a single IPTV connection but AS soon as someone else wants to use the internet the connection is a dogs arse to use. I’d be happy with full blown ADSL2+ at 24Mbit or up to 50Mbit at least. At least we could run 2 IPTV connections comfortably with that with room for browsing and so-on.

          • While Netflix scales well to the speed of the service, quite often the issue isn’t your sync speed – it’s congestion.

            For example, my connection (and everyone else’s in my local area) will sync at 4mbit – has ever since the place was built 6 years ago. For the last couple years, the average connection speed after 3pm is around 120kbps. During the day it’s usually around 250kbps, and rarely at the full speed of 420kbps.

            So yes, I (and many others) can use Netflix during the day when most people are at work – and it works well. Can I use Netflix in the afternoon/evening when I actually want to use it? Yes. It works, barely.

            Can I use the internet for anything else at the same time? No. And doing so will kill my netflix stream.

            If it was just a constant 120kbps or so, it wouldn’t be so bad – but because it goes from 60kbps to 120kbps to 80kbps to 200kbps, etc – it’s impossible to do two things at once.

          • don’t you mean ‘most australians IN BIG CITIES’ can get these speeds?

            perhaps you should move to a regional area where we have this thing called ‘congestion’, where my 10MB link drops to under 2MB after 5pm.

            i challenge you to actually try these streaming services in some regional areas, before stating that most australians can get it.

          • +100

            Outskirts of Taree NSW, 6K from exchange.
            My Best Effort Peak on ADSL2 is pasted below:
            (most times it’s well below that)

            “Your download speed is 180 KB/s (0.18 MB/s)”

            Guess that falls a little short of the Netfix O.5 MB/s Minimum requirement?

          • 1) Most Aussies DO live in cities
            2) All major Aussie cities have access to speeds that allow streaming
            3) Therefore most Aussies have access to speeds that allow streaming

            Live in rural areas, you loose the pains of living in the city, but gain the pains of not living in a city…

          • If it hasn’t rained heavily in a few weeks I normally manage an 8mbit connection (0.9-2mbit if it has). I have used Netflix with 2 streams at once with none of the media data going through a VPN, getting around the geoblocking using a DNS service. My connection is the limiting factor and I find 8mpbs is enough for HD, buffer times can be painful if you miss something and want to take it back 10 seconds it has to rebuffer. Due to my data cap I don’t watch things in HD on Netflix often. I comfortably handle 2 SD streams on my connection and find Netflix is a good service but if it comes here, I think we will fall in the same category as most other countries that are not the US. Exclusive content deals will shaft the content selection. Getting around the geoblocking will still be necessary to actually get the full Netflix experience.

            I still think it’s great that it is coming to Australia, alternatives to Foxtel is always a good thing. I am in favour of FTTP but Renai is right, this isn’t really an NBN issue. Netflix has a relatively low impact on my connection at 5-8mbits, as with others i’ve spoken to with connections ranging from 5-10mbits. I know not everyone’s case is the same at mine but Netflix really isn’t that demanding on a connection and HD is definitely viable for most if they don’t mind waiting a minute or two for shows to buffer. The time you save for on demand add free shows does make up for it. If you are stuck on a 3mbit or less connection I think Netflix would be frustrating with multiple users using the connection but FTTN + fixed wireless and satellite would definitely suffice for Netflix.

      • Also, as an aside, it’s easy to say “it’s fine” when high speed options are available. You have to remember that the entire country isn’t in the same boat ( were cable here, I’d gladly swap). :)

        Businesses like Netflix will have a critical mass point where the costs to operate are less than the money being made. To do that, they need to be able to offer a service to as many homes and businesses as possible.

        That was my point.

      • What kind of bandwidth does Nexflix actually require? I setup a 7Mbit streaming service on my NBN connection at home so I can watch the cricket at work, but I couldn’t get a decent video stream until I reduced it to 5Mbit. Still adequate, but not the best performance for a 10 Mbit adsl line.

        But about Nexflix – I was actually just investigating them myself. I don’t want to pay for Foxtel, I can’t get FetchTV because none of participating ISPs provide the plan I require (for a sensible price) and there is nothing interesting (to me) on Quickflix.

        • For two SD streams on my 8mbit connection It doesn’t effect my pings all that much while gaming, browsing is fine. 1 HD stream is all my 8mbit can handle, I find the buffer times a bit annoying, it does have to rebuffer from time to time. I’d imagine a 10mbit connection would suffice. It is possible to try the US Netflix service for free using a free DNS service and a 1 month free Netflix trial. I’m unsure if its within the rules for me to suggest here on delimiter what DNS service to use but to get past the US billing address just put a US zipcode and your real details for everything else. Putting a NYC zipcode was all it took for my debit card with an Australian address verified.

    • The bandwidth requirements for Netflix are often overstated. Netflix has adaptive bitrate streaming. It can go down to 150kbit/s at lousy quality up to 1750 kbit/s (SD), 3000 kbit/s (HD), 6000 kbit/s (“SuperHD”) . I have been watching it over a lousy WiMAX connection and its still acceptable.

      I’ve got 100mbps NBN now, for the browser/Silverlight streaming (max 3000kbit/s in HD), it barely ever peaks over 10mbps.

  3. I’m on ADSL2 with ~17mbps down and can easily stream Netflix to two devices simultaneously without a hiccough. Netflix only allows two simultaneous streams from the one account anyhow.

    It doesn’t leave a lot of room for any other download intensive applications (Windows Update, YouTube, Steam, etc) though.

      • My ADSL2+ Sync speed is about 16Mbps, sometimes 15Mbps, and I have no problem streaming two concurrent streams both at Netflix’ SuperHD.

        Netflix’s adaptive bitrate is the best, it starts playing very quickly at low quality, and then quickly (in a matter of 10-15 seconds) goes all the way up to whatever your connection supports.

        • I find Netflix’s SuperHD on the Apple TV excruciatingly slow to start – 30 seconds or so – and don’t even get me started on fast-forward/rewind. I’ve not used the browser-based version much so perhaps that’s better?

          But at 2+ GB/hour it’s too download hungry for my meagre monthly allowance. Ah to not be stuck behind a RIM and thus unable to go naked DSL…

          • What VPN provider seems to be the norm for Netflix, or one that peeps seem to be happy with?

          • I use StrongVPN – seems to work pretty well. I think it was $50 for a year, unlimited traffic, etc. Can use an app on your PC to configure the settings automatically, or you can manually configure the VPN on other devices.

        • Are they actually running super HD I am willing to bet they are not as I don’t believe you could sustain that speed to the USA with that connection.

          Run a speed test locally and then one on a USA server you will only get 1/4 to 1/3 the speed.

  4. Been using netflix for the last two weeks in australia in combination with the unblock-us service.

    Our adsl has been patchy with the recent weather but after a bit of buffering the quality becomes extremely high (it appears to use silverlight streaming or something similar)

    My worst complaint is the xbox 360 app is quite slow (and you need to start an american account to download it)

  5. Hopefully sooner rather than later. The fact that we don’t have such services here is a large part of the reason why piracy is as big as it is here. If Netflix was here for maybe $15/mo and it let me watch content on all of my devices whenever I wanted why would I pirate it? As for the people complaining about quotas. Really? Quotas? In 2013? For serious?

    Also NBN. NBN. Well it’s a big deal and would help with Netflix but we don’t need it for Netflix. Without it the vast majority of us will have to “suffer” with only one HD stream at once and 4K is out of the question. Also the usual death of the connections for some during rain etc. However that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have it at all ’till then.

  6. Netflix only indicated recently it’d launch in 1 new market next year in a shareholder letter.

    I’d assume some programs exclusive to Foxtel, etc may not be offered on a Australian Netflix.

    Hulu on the other hand which competes with Netflix has not indicated any plans for further expansion beyond Japan.

    An executive that works for them told C21Media that they are holding off international expansion plans for now unlike Netflix which has expanded to many countries .

  7. There are two potential issues that could occur if this actually happens.

    1. Straight away Netflix straight slap at least a 100% markup on the cost of the service compared to the US

    2. The content repository is severely lacking compared to the US due to local rights holder agreements making it less atractive especially combined with number 1

    I can then see Netflix actually starting to crack down on Aussies trying to bypass geoblocking to access the US one.

  8. >There are no legal avenues apart from Foxtel for Australians to currently watch Netflix-owned series such as House of Cards.

    Not so. I have been working through House of Cards on DVD from Quckflix over the last few weeks. I do hope that if/when Netflix come, they swallow up, rather than just demolishing Quickflix…

  9. How many Australian subscribers does everyone think Netflix currently has (using the various geo-unblocking services)?
    I don’t know the answer, but I’m guessing 10,000-15,000.

    • Based on reported numbers in The Australian more than 20 000 and many in the industry have it estimated as much more up to 50 000

  10. IMHO I believe any bandwidth intensive service that has mass appeal can only hasten upgrades to our network, so the sooner the better.

  11. Well I’m glad you can all argue about your more than adequate speeds for the hypothetical launch of Netflix Australia. No ASIC records, no ABN records. Yeah, try doing a launch without those.

    Meanwhile I’ll go to my little corner and cry a little with my 3.5Mbps connection.

    “3.0 Megabits per second – Recommended for DVD quality”

    Yeah… no.
    I’ve tried streaming services from overseas already, and they ALWAYS downgrade the quality.
    The quality is akin to throwing broken glass in my face. You wouldn’t be able to tell Hillary Swank from a Muppet with what I get.

    Until better speeds come to my suburban metropolitan street, for me this will remain a discussion underlined by the prospect of the NBN.

    “Australia is not all a total broadband backwater”
    100% accurate statement. No argument there.
    Question is… how much is still a backwater. Considering the Average connection speed of 4.8Mbps in Australia compared to U.S. with 8.7Mbps.
    How much of the Australian market could Netflix reach if they launched a local service today?

    Those are the critical questions.

    • “You wouldn’t be able to tell Hillary Swank from a Muppet with what I get” — better quality video doesnt make it any easier…

  12. I cant see it happening anytime soon. Netflix will be paying a premium to the US film companies to broadcast content to Australia. Foxtel has been paying justify them giving up the juicy contracts they would have secured with Foxtel. Therefore it will be a big investment to come here. Netflix prices wont be cheap.

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