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Netflix confirms Oz, NZ launch

US streaming giant Netflix has ended months of speculation by confirming it will launch in Australia and New Zealand next March.

The subscription video-on-demand service will make its Australian foray with original series including Marco Polo and BoJack Horseman, and kids’ titles including DreamWorks Animation’s All Hail King Julien.

Netflix will also be home to documentaries Virunga and Mission Blue, and stand-up comedy specials Uganda Be Kidding Me: Live, from Chelsea Handler and Jim Jefferies’s Bare, among others.

The launch follows the Californian firm’s expansion into six European countries, including France and Germany, in September.

The Netflix ANZ selection will expand next year to include forthcoming original series Bloodline, superhero tale Marvel’s Daredevil, thriller Sense8 and Grace & Frankie, from the creator of Friends and starring Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda.

Netflix, which was founded in 1997, has more than 53 million subscribers in at least 40 countries around the world.

The announcement comes amidst an arms race in the Australian SVoD market. Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media have partnered on joint venture StreamCo, which, along with the forthcoming arrival of Netflix, has forced pay TV outfit Foxtel to slash the costs of its service.

A consortium with links to Sir Richard Branson’s Virgin Group is also reportedly in talks with Australian broadcasters to launch a video-on-demand service.

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