Netflix is launching in Australia and New Zealand on March 24 – that’s less than two days away. Over the past few weeks, Netflix has released the third season of House of Cards, as well as its new original series The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Bloodlines. All I know about these shows is what I have heard on podcasts that previewed them, but I’m excited about checking them out. Television critics in the United States have questioned why Netflix is launching these series one weekend after another for the general public’s viewing pleasure. Back when House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black were Netflix’s only noteworthy original series, they launched one in February and the other in June. Now it they’re using their two established shows to anchor their new original series, even though it may be more beneficial to spread it out.
Given the imminent launch of Netflix AU and NZ however, it makes more sense. Australians have been waiting for Netflix for years. So long, in fact, that several people access their Netflix US accounts through proxy servers. Australians love to pirate House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black, and really just about anything, so there’s a chance that anyone who was going to watch House of Cards’ third season has already seen it. So why not make sure there are two new original series available on streaming as well? One is written by Tina Fey and the other stars everyone’s favourite high school football coach, Kyle Chandler. Having new original series for the launch is smart marketing. They also need these shows because they’re two months behind their Australian competitors, Stan and Presto.
I don’t write much about Presto because I don’t have a subscription. Yes, you can watch HBO shows, but I have Foxtel and therefore I don’t really need it. On the other hand, Stan has made some clever marketing decisions itself. Australians are getting new episodes of Better Call Saul and Community hours after they’re available in the United States, and it’s all legal (the only real problem I have with Stan is my internet connection, so I’ll probably have the same problem with Netflix). Stan didn’t start with a fantastic library, but it’s been building, and there are some great films and television shows that are going to be available for streaming this coming week, including HBO’s Oz and one season wonder Freaks and Geeks. On the animated front, there’s Dexter’s Laboratory, which joins other Cartoon Network hits Adventure Time and The Powerpuff Girls. I’m still waiting on the second and third books of Avatar: The Last Airbender though, so get on that Stan. At times I’ve questioned whether or not to cancel my subscription because all I was really watching on Stan for a few weeks was Better Call Saul. However, now that Stan’s library is expanding and I have new episodes of Community every week, that’s not really an issue. And if the competition remains high between Netflix and Stan, that’s only going to be a good thing for Australians, because we might start to get more of our shows fast tracked.