Quickflix: Streaming on a screen near you

By Scott Kara

Quickflix. Photo / Supplied
Quickflix. Photo / Supplied

The race is on to see who can dominate the online streaming market in New Zealand, with Australian movie and television service Quickflix planning to launch here in the near future.

Following news last week that groundbreaking music streaming service Spotify is gearing up, TimeOut understands Quickflix is next in line with launch plans in the wind.

Already established in Australia for a decade, Quickflix will allow customers to stream movies and TV shows on their computer, TV, and via PS3 gaming consoles.

The company also offers a pay-per-view service for the latest releases and is a DVD rental outlet similar to the Sky TV New Zealand-owned Fatso website.

Quickflix - which is similar to, though not as big as Netflix, the California-based company with more than 23 million subscribers - did not respond to TimeOut's questions about their move into New Zealand before we went to print.

However, it is understood to have a catalogue of around 50,000 TV shows and movies.

At present the choices for downloading - or streaming - movies in New Zealand is limited. Apple's iTunes store rents movies for streamed viewing at $7.99 or sells digital downloads for $29.99.

But its film catalogue isn't definitive and some new releases are restricted to buy-only.

Over at Quickflix it costs AUS$15 ($19) a month for unlimited streaming.

Local technology commentator Peter Griffin says Quickflix could face a tough time in New Zealand against the likes of Sky TV.

Although the pay TV network does not offer streaming services similar to Quickflix just yet, Griffin believes it is in the strongest position to do so in New Zealand.

"Everything is moving towards the streaming model and you can see Sky building up to that, where they have enabled their MySky recorder down the line to be able to be connected to the internet.

"So the box in your lounge will be able to deliver all the content that you need and it will be streamed via the internet - it's what they are calling IPTV: internet protocol television."

Currently Sky has iSky, which streams shows that have already screened, and a number of live channels and this year, in partnership with TVNZ, it will launch Igloo, a kind of miniature, low-cost version of the Sky package.

Griffin also says Sky and TVNZ are at an advantage because they have established relationships with TV and film studios overseas, which enable them to secure rights to screen shows and movies in New Zealand.

"It makes it very hard for other players to get access to a full library of content.

"The likes of TVNZ and Sky are in the box seat because they have the potential to get exclusive rights, or initial rights to screen things first." he says.

"Quickflix would have to negotiate studio-by-studio deals to represent them in Australia, and now potentially in New Zealand, which as we have seen in the music industry can be a painfully slow process. And it seems to be even more complicated when you do it in the TV and movie world."

Kirsty Way, corporate communications manager at Sky TV, was not prepared to reveal the network's future plans for online streaming. But she did say the network's pulling power in getting the rights to TV shows and films "is one of our strengths".

"And rights windows are changing, we are seeing New Zealand release dates closer to US releases for example, or even at the same time.

"It's heading in the right direction but we are still constrained by the big studios and what we can get from them."

-TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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