The US streaming service Netflix formally announced its lineup of launch titles this morning, confirming long-held speculation that the company will only offer the films ‘The Castle’ and ‘Muriel’s Wedding’.
In a press release today, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings expressed excitement at the launch. “We can’t wait to bring Netflix to Australian customers, allowing them the thrill of watching The Castle and Muriel’s Wedding over and over again,” he wrote. “After months of intensive market research, we determined that these are the only films Australians are interested in watching – and we can’t blame them.”
Local commentators praised the move. “I was worried that Australians would be cheated again with a weak launch lineup,” said one tech commentator. “But this is outstanding. For only $14.99 per month, I can stream two incredible Australian films in crisp standard definition.”
Netflix streaming competitors – including Fairfax and Nine’s Stan and Foxtel’s Presto – are scrambling to respond to the news. “It’s a stellar lineup – we can’t deny that,” said a Foxtel spokesperson. “We assumed that because consumers already own The Castle and Muriel’s Wedding on both VHS and DVD that they wouldn’t want them again. We were wrong.”
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Initial concerns about whether Australian Netflix would offer original series like Orange is the New Black or House of Cards appear to have been overblown. “To be honest, I don’t really care,” said one prospective Netflix subscriber. “As long as I can watch the trials and tribulations of Muriel forever and ever, I’ve got no beef.”
Also announced today was an exclusive feature for Australian Netflix users, which automatically lowers the television volume as soon as a viewer begins quoting the entire film verbatim.
Speaking to the Backburner, Hastings made clear that Australia is an important market for the company, and that he expects tremendous growth. “Australian consumers are hungry for content, and we’re looking forward to bringing you the films you love to watch again and again.”
“In December… we’ll be adding Red Dog.”