A new era in film and television-watching is upon us, with Australian streaming service Quickflix available in New Zealand today.
TimeOut revealed the company's plans to move into the New Zealand market last week and it was launched in Auckland last night by Australian MTV star and model Ruby Rose.
Quickflix allows customers to stream movies and TV shows on their computer, television and via devices such as PS3 gaming consoles.
The company also offers a pay-per-view service for the latest releases which will be available around the same time as DVD releases.
There will be 650 films and "hundreds of hours" of BBC TV content available.
However, chief executive Chris Taylor, a former head of Prime TV in New Zealand in the mid-2000s, says it will be adding around 350 to 400 new films and about 400 hours of new television every month for the subscription service.
"We will be quite quickly adding to that and announcing more arrangements with studios and providers of television to enhance the service."
Major Hollywood studios already on board with Quickflix are Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, NBC Universal and MGM, along with Lakeshore Entertainment and Pinnacle Films. The BBC is providing British TV drama and comedy.
It expects to announce more film and TV studio deals in coming weeks.
At this stage there will be no HBO content available because Sky New Zealand has the rights to these shows sewn up, even though the American network recently became a major stakeholder in Quickflix. "That's disappointing for us but with the BBC and the other major studios we have on board, and the ones we are looking at adding, it's not the end of the world," says Taylor.
There was speculation Quickflix would face a tough job securing rights to content because of Sky's dominance in New Zealand.
Taylor disagrees, pointing to the fact it already has three of the five major film studios on board, as well as a good line-up of other studios and broadcasters.
"So we have demonstrated that we have been able to establish rights for [New Zealand] and it will be a very compelling line-up."
He believes Quickflix will provide a cost-effective alternative, and some badly needed competition, for the likes of Sky TV in New Zealand.
"New Zealanders' entertainment choices have been far too limited for far too long. In our view, consumers deserve more choice of content, on demand, without the exorbitant price tag."
In Australia, Quickflix is also a DVD rental outlet similar to the Sky TV New Zealand-owned Fatso website but it will not offer that service here.
* Unlimited movies and TV shows for $9.99 per month (limited time). Normally $16.99 per month.
* Pay-per-view new release films cost $6.99. Available around the same time as DVD release date.
* Around 650 films and "hundreds of hours" of BBC TV content will be available initially. However, it will be adding around 350 to 400 new films and about 400 hours of new television every month for the subscription service.
* Watch on internet-connected devices, including home computers, Sony Bravia TVs, Blu-ray players and PS3. In coming months other devices will stream Quickflix, including Apple iPhones and iPads in May.
* Zero-rated broadband access with Orcon, easing the pressure on the user's monthly data cap. Other ISPs, including Slingshot, expected to announce their own plans soon.