It’s the news that’s hot on everyone’s lips: the world’s largest streaming and television service provider, Netflix, has finally come to Australia. But if you don’t know what all the fuss is all about – or if you’re not sure what it could mean for you – read on.

What is Netflix anyway?

Netflix is the world’s leading internet subscription service for TV shows and movies. It has over 57 million subscribers across 50 countries. In fact, it is so popular in the US, that 30% of the country’s total internet traffic in peak times is just from Netflix!

How does Netflix work?

Put simply, with Netflix, you can watch what you want, when you want.

You simply select your favourite TV show or movie and stream it to any internet-connected device with a Netflix application – your TV, computer, tablet or smartphone.

Pause, rewind and forward at your leisure. And never sit through an ad break again.

Is streaming TV and movie content new in Australia?

No, it’s not. Established service providers such as Ezyflix and Quickflix have been here for several years. But 2015 is the year for all the big players.

The Australian launch of Netflix was closely preceded by the launch of Presto (a collaboration between Foxtel and Channel 7) and Stan (a Channel 9 and Fairfax partnership).

However, Netflix has the advantage of strong brand recognition in Australia, largely due to news coverage around many Australians illegally – or ‘creatively’ – accessing the US service before it officially arrived.

What does Netflix mean for the free-to-air and pay television market?

There’s no denying that the arrival of Netflix in Australia is part of a long-term shift in viewing habits. And that means Australia’s free-to-air and pay television operators are now under legitimate threat.

In the next 10-20 years, very few of us will be ‘tuning in’ at particular times to watch our favourite shows. According to Netflix Chief Executive, Reed Hastings ‘…most viewing in most countries will be over the internet.’

The evolution is no different to the music industry. We’ve moving from owning (LPs, tapes, CDs)… to downloading (MP3s)… to streaming (Spotfiy, Pandora, GooglePlay).

What will you be able to watch on Netflix?

According to Netflix, Australians will be able to enjoy a whole world of entertainment. Award-winning TV series, documentaries, kids programming, movie blockbusters – you name it.

But unless you’re a House of Cards binge-watcher, you may want to do your research. According to critics, Australian Netflix service has almost 7,000 fewer titles than it offers in the US. What’s more, with 1,250 titles on offer in Australia, Netflix offers the fewest choices when compared to Stan, Presto and Ezyflix. Quickflix has the largest selection with 2,300 titles.

So how much does Netflix cost?

Netflix is offering the basic standard definition service at $8.99 per month. The two-stream high-definition plan costs $11.99. And four-stream 4K ultra-definition plan is $14.99.

Comparatively, Stan offers high definition streaming at $10 a month and. And Presto, which only offers content in standard definition, charges $9.99 per month.

But streaming video costs more than your monthly subscription. It’s also about the data you consume through your internet plan and your broadband capabilities.

Is Netflix or any other internet subscription service right for you?

If you answer ‘yes’ to one or more of the following questions, it may be worth considering.

  • Does your busy lifestyle prevent you from watching TV at conventional times?
  • Are the viewing choices on your Foxtel subscription getting limited and repetitive?
  • Do you crave top quality, high-definition viewing?
  • Are you fed up with ‘no escape’ television advertising?
  • Do you enjoy ‘binge-watching’ quality TV shows?
  • Do you already have an Apple TV or LG TV?

To find out how to get started, call Urban Intelligence on (03) 99514 6000.