Ten - Netflix SVOD tie up in the works?

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 9 February 2015

Netflix is refusing to deny a potential tie-up with Network Ten is in the works, as its launch moves ever closer.

This morning The Australian reported [$] talks between the pair were taking place, even as Network Ten is in the middle of a potential takeover dance.

“We don't comment on speculation,” a spokesperson for Netflix said, while refusing to deny the story when contacted by AdNews this morning.

The spokesperson also refused to discuss whether Netflix felt comfortable enough in its launch library to be able to launch in the Australian market without a network partner.

The comparative lack of programming for the local Netflix service against its US cousin has long been a talking point in subscription video on demand circles, with some doubting whether existing users of the US service will make the switch to the Australian platform.

Netflix has found itself frustrated by existing content deals in Australia, with Foxtel holding the Australia rights to key Netflix shows House of Cards and Orange is the New Black.

Should any deal come off, Ten would be the third commercial network partner to get into the SVOD game.

Network Nine is in a joint venture with Fairfax Media, launching SVOD platform Stan on Australia Day.

Seven West Media signed a 50-50 joint venture agreement with Foxtel in December last year to expand Presto's offering into TV content, rather than just movies.

A potential Netflix deal would give Ten another path to commercialise its content and potentially grab a stake in a joint venture partnership, but given that talks are thought to be in an early stage it is hard to know what impact any deal would have.

It is not known whether the talks centre around a simple content-licensing deal, or whether they would be formal joint venture talks.

Any potential deal throws an interesting complication into ongoing takeover talks at Network Ten, with a joint bid from Discovery and Foxtel launched late last year believed to have been blocked by shareholder Bruce Gordon.

Last week Netflix announced a deal with Disney to secure SVOD rights to current and future content.

The deal will see Netflix access highly anticipated releases such as Star Wars: Episode VII, and Marvel's The Avengers: Age of Ultron along with the current Disney catalogue including Frozen, and Captain America.

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