Netflix Acquires Australian TV Series 'Mako Mermaids'

Mako Mermaids H

The children's show will be available on the streaming video service in the U.S. and beyond simultaneously with its Australian premiere in July.

SYDNEY -- Netflix has acquired the exclusive first-run rights to Jonathan M. Shiff Productions’ live action kids series, Mako Mermaids for the USA/Canada, England, Ireland, Scandinavia, Benelux and Latin America.

Netflix will release the series simultaneously in those markets in line with the series' Australian premiere on Network Ten on July 26. ZDF Enterprises is the series' international distributor and ZDF will air the show in German-speaking territories.

The deal includes the exclusive premiere rights (outside of Australia) to the first season, including a first-run window, as well as a second season for the same territories.

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The show tells the tale of three mermaids who are tasked with protecting their magical Mako Island from trespassers, but are thwarted by the arrival of 16-year-old Zac. He acquires amazing powers and merman qualities. Threatened by his existence, the mermaid pod is forced to move away, abandoning the three young mermaids. In a bid for survival they must get legs, venture onto land, and take back Zac's powers -- or risk being outcasts forever.

A spin-off from the internationally successful series, H2O: Just Add Water, the 26 half-hour episode series is produced by Jonathan M. Shiff Productions, in association with Screen Australia, Network Ten, ZDF Enterprises and Screen Queensland, with assistance from Gold Coast City Council’s Business Gold Coast.

"This exclusive first-run deal, and Netflix’s commitment to the brand, is unprecedented -- not just for children’s, but for any Australian program. It is a game-changer,” said executive producer Jonathan M. Shiff. “With the instant delivery of first-run series, as seen with their series House of Cards, Netflix is an exciting and prestigious platform.”

Screen Australia CEO Ruth Harley added: "This is an extremely significant deal for an Australian television program and reinforces that our children’s television sector is highly regarded internationally for the high-quality content it produces. There’s clearly an appetite for quality Australian children’s television content both at home and abroad."

Netflix is yet to launch its VOD platform in Australia.