Netflix Sets Australia, New Zealand Launch Date

House of Cards Season 3 Spacey Still - H 2015

The streaming giant will launch Down Under with all three seasons of 'House of Cards' on March 24.

Netflix will officially launch in Australia and New Zealand on March 24, the streaming giant announced Tuesday.

At launch, Netflix original series including all three seasons of House of Cards, Marco Polo, thriller Sense8, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Marvel’s Daredevil, DreamWorks Animation’s The Adventures of Puss in Boots and All Hail King Julien, and the Academy Award-nominated documentary Virunga will be available to Australia’s 8 million-plus households.

Netflix also confirmed distribution deals with Roadshow Entertainment, Beyond Distribution, the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) and The Walt Disney Company. 

The streamer will be available on multiple devices and via all of Australia’s key ISPs, but it has signed a metering deal with third-ranked ISP iiNet under which customers won’t be charged extra for going over data caps for watching Netflix shows and movies. A similar deal has been struck with Vodafone in New Zealand. In addition, as part of Netflix's global deal with Microsoft’s Xbox, consumers buying the Xbox One will get three months' prepaid access to the Netflix service, starting March 24 and for a limited time only. 

“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, when announcing the launch date.

Netflix will join local Svod services Stan, jointly owned by the Nine TV network and publisher Fairfax Media, and Presto, jointly owned by  pay TV giant Foxtel and broadcaster the Seven Network, as well as DVD mail order and streaming player Quickflix in building the nascent streaming market here.

Stan directors last week said the company expects to have around 100,000 sign-ups to the service by mid-March after launching in January, a number that Nine CEO David Gyngell said was surprising, "This is something that is popping out of the box; they're watching it, they're consuming it, they're loving it. But Stan has got to be good enough to keep them," Gyngell said Friday.

Presto announced this week it would offer a one-month free trial to new users.

Netflix will offer a single-stream standard definition plan, two-stream high-definition plan and four-stream 4K ultra-high definition “family” plan. The company has not yet set its pricing for Australia and New Zealand.