Netflix‘s game-changing move
Netflix lovers could hear more Aussie accents on the streaming platform with the US giant tipped to create an avalanche of Australian content.
After news this month that Netflix will set up a small office in Sydney, industry experts say the move is designed to cement its position as the leading streaming service in Australia.
It would also show Netflix is dedicated to Aussie viewers, as competition intensifies in the streaming market.
Media strategist Steve Allen said the massive constraints facing free-to-air networks had pushed the streaming giant to capitalise on the opportunity that lies in Australia.
"What Netflix's model rests on is that actors, film writers and producers seem to be flocking to digital streaming services, the most dominant being Netflix," Mr Allen told news.com.au.
"One only has to assume it's because, this way, they have far more control over their product.
"The creative community in Australia has long lamented the difficulty of getting programs up in Australia, which relies heavily on the massive cost of production, which given the size of our population, is a huge gamble for local networks."
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PwC Australia media spokesman Justin Papps told The Australian Netflix was showing it's commitment to Australia by setting up the local office.
"I think is a good indication on how serious they're now taking our part of the world," he said.
The Sydney expansion is being viewed as a way for Netflix to fend off streaming competitors Stan, Foxtel Now, Kayo Sports, Amazon Prime Video and 10 All Access.
"Netflix plans to beat their competitors by having more content," Mr Allen put simply.
"They would be seeking to protect their spot in Australia."
With more than 11 million Australian subscribers, Netflix has attracted criticism for not paying its share of tax in Australia and has faced increased pressure to back local productions.
According to The Australian, Communications Minister Paul Fletcher has indicated the Morrison Government is considering implementing a new levy on digital video streamers to compensate local broadcasters' for lost revenue.
PwC's Australian Entertainment and Media Outlook report released last week said Australians were "spoilt for choice when it comes to streaming video-on-demand services".
"Launches from much-anticipated international heavy hitters Apple and Disney are rumoured," the report said.
"In the small Australian market, this level of competition will likely prompt further consolidation."
In order to gain an edge over its well-established rivals, Disney Plus is betting hard on exclusive content - a direct challenge to Netflix.
Disney content is currently shown on Stan, owned by Nine, but don't expect this agreement to continue indefinitely.
"The more likely scenario is if Stan, for example, wants to hold onto their Disney content, they would want to co-operate with Disney, not join forces in the local market," Mr Allen said.
As Netflix sets up shop in Australia, Foxtel has been busy establishing a its own streaming business to withstand the influx of international giants.
Foxtel has also announced a partnership that allows its customers to stream Netflix via its set-top box.
"We're looking forward to strengthening the relationship with Netflix that we announced earlier this year and we welcome any further commitment to the Australian content market that their local arrival is likely to bring with it," a Foxtel spokesperson told news.com.au.
But Mr Allen can't see relationship between the two developing.
"It will test their relationship with Foxtel," Mr Allen said.
"To my knowledge Netflix isn't partnering with anyone. They are charting their own course.
"But with saying that, they tend not to be constraining their options, they are widening them."
According toThe Sydney Morning Herald, Netflix's Sydney-based office will be run by a team of 10 members with former 20th Century Fox head of publicity, Sarah Haines, taking on the role as head of publicity for original content.
Former LinkedIn Asia Pacific public policy director Nick O'Donnell is also expected to join the team.