Lydia Jenkin is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Lydia Jenkin: Why you can't watch House of Cards in NZ

Kevin Spacey stars in the TV show House of Cards.
Kevin Spacey stars in the TV show House of Cards.

On Monday this week, Netflix sent out a press release across Australasia, announcing a whole bunch of good news. Marvel's Jessica Jones is returning, so are Orange is the New Black and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, along with some very interesting teasers for new shows.

But the tidbit which caught all eyes at TimeOut was the premiere date for House of Cards season 4. This was intriguing, because since Netflix launched in New Zealand last year, House of Cards has been conspicuously absent from the service. That's right, you haven't been able to watch House of Cards, which is a Netflix original series, on Netflix, because of some odd licensing deals.

And so the news that we would be getting season four on Friday, March 4 this year felt like cause for celebration. Surely that would mean that Netflix would also put up season three, which New Zealand fans have not been able to watch anywhere, on any service (legally) since it came out in late February 2015.

But it seems the press release may have been mistaken, because when we contacted the Australian Netflix publicists to clarify if and when we might be able to see the previous seasons, well let's just say, confusion reigned.

First they thought we were mistaken - "House of Cards season three is already on there". Ah nope, it's not, and never has been. The publicist then sent the query higher up.

You see, before Netflix launched in New Zealand, the licence for House of Cards season one and two was sold to TV3, who screened them both OnDemand, and in a regular weekly slot. Then Lightbox picked up both season one and two as well, and had them available online.

When it came time for season three Netflix admitted they wouldn't be screening it in New Zealand, because the licence was still with "other content providers".

Except when we asked TV3, TVNZ, Sky and Lightbox, they all denied having any licence. So we waited, thinking it would be cleared up eventually. But now it seems even Netflix is confused about the situation. Plus, you can no longer watch season one or two anywhere in New Zealand, except via DVD box set. It's no longer on Lightbox or with TV3, so why can't Netflix add it to their New Zealand service?

We were unable to get clarification from Netflix, but let's hope they figure it out soon. We just want to watch House of Cards!

- TimeOut

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Lydia Jenkin is an entertainment feature writer for the New Zealand Herald.

Childhood music lessons eventually led to degrees in music and media studies for Lydia Jenkin, launching her career as an entertainment writer. A love of late nights watching local musos - whether in dingy bars or at summer music festivals – saw her become assistant editor at NZ Musician magazine for nearly five years before she jumped at the chance to join the TimeOut team. She's at her happiest when ranting about her latest music discovery, but is equally keen on excellent film and television (The Dark Horse and True Detective are her picks so far for 2014).

Read more by Lydia Jenkin

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