Lightbox, the internet-based television service launched by Spark this year, has welcomed the competition from United States online streaming giant Netflix, which aims to start up in New Zealand in March.

Lightbox says it is "confident" it has enough to offer that Netflix will not have.

Netflix, an online TV and movie website with 53 million customers worldwide, will directly compete with both Sky TV and Lightbox.

"We're confident in our product," said Lightbox chief executive Kym Niblock.


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Asked how Lightbox planned to stand up against Netflix's content library, Ms Niblock said she was "very confident" Lightbox would be offering "things that Netflix won't have".

"Lightbox has paid for a number of exclusives."

The local service also offered New Zealand content.

While indicating she was pleased with Lightbox's growth, Ms Niblock would not reveal any customer numbers.

Netflix said on its website yesterday that it would launch in Australia and New Zealand next March. It said its service would be available on smart televisions, tablets, smartphones, computers, consoles and set-top boxes.

There are no details yet on pricing, but US customers are charged about US$10 ($12.70) a month. Lightbox charges $15 a month while Sky TV's online television service Neon will cost $20 a month when it launches next month.

Sky TV boss John Fellet said it was difficult to comment on how the Netflix launch would affect Neon. That would remain the case until Netflix announced the catalogue it would make available in this country and what it would charge Kiwis, he said.


Mr Fellet said New Zealand's on-demand video market was getting crowded and that a mix of price, content, and a service's ease-of-use would determine who would dominate.

New Zealand internet users have already been able to access Netflix via back-door channels.

Internet companies Slingshot and Orcon also started giving their customers access to the site and similar overseas media outlets this year.

Slingshot general manager Taryn Hamilton was positive about Netflix's launch: "When we opened up Global Mode to all of our customers this year it was because we wanted to give Kiwis the chance to have access to the same online content - for the same price - that people in other parts of the world have access to," he said.

"So it's great to hear Netflix will be launching in NZ soon.

"We hope that Kiwis get as good a quality line-up of content and at a comparable price point to what US Netflix users enjoy," he said.

"And we also look forward to more services similar to Netflix coming into the local market."