Arguably one of the biggest shows in entertainment in the last few years, House of Cards is a remarkable thing – in part because it was commissioned not by a big studio or TV network, instead by one of the giants of the streaming world – and also because of it’s “All in” binge viewing where the whole season is available from day 1. In 2015 as House of Cards season 3 is about to launch, it seems clear Australia is going to miss out.
Kevin Spacey’s character Frank Underwood is one person I’d prefer not to deal with, but if he was an Australian, he’d be fighting hard and doing anything he could to get access to a show like House of Cards. In 2015 he’ll have to resort to a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to get around the geoblocks in place at Netflix to allow him to watch season 3.
You see, in 2014, Foxtel held the rights to House of Cards. Licensed through Sony – mainly because Netflix didn’t have a presence in Australia, Foxtel were very smart. They made the whole season available to watch on the Valentines weekend – the same weekend it was available in the States.
This negated the need to pay for the US version of Netflix and find and likely pay for a VPN or geoblock avoidance software to allow you to watch it.
Fast forward one year and this is a very, very different marketplace.
We contacted Netflix’s Australian representatives who told EFTM “Netflix have not made any announcement regarding House of Cards.”
Over at Foxtel EFTM understands that Foxtel no longer have Season 1 of House of Cards under licence, but you may still see Season 2 in the coming months – that could mean a smart programming move by Foxtel to provide “Season 2 recap” for fans awaiting Season 3. When it comes to Season 3, Foxtel most certainly do not have any rights to this one.
Stan – the online streaming service from the Nine Network and Fairfax looks set to launch any day now, Foxtel’s Presto offering has just added TV shows along with its movie service, and Netflix has announced they are launching in Australia and speculation has that date as being March 31.
The problem is, House of Cards season 3 starts on Feburary 27 in the USA. Let’s call that the 28th in Australia. If Netflix is launching on March 31 – that’s 31 days we’ve got to wait before we can binge watch or even start watching episode 1.
UPDATE: February 23: Netflix have confirmed to EFTM that All Three Seasons of House of Cards will be available on Netflix at launch – confirming the worst kept and most obvious secret of all time. However, we still don’t know when that is?? Could Feb 28 still be an option?
In a connected online world, House of Cards fans in Australia are going to have to avoid social media and review site spoilers for that entire time – good luck.
More likely, the tech savvy among us will hook up their VPN and stream it from the US Netflix service.
Seems a missed opportunity to rake in the cash from Aussies willing to play the legitimate game of TV streaming.
Of course, there are two options – remotely likely as they are – that could save Australians.
The first is that Netflix launches on February 28. That’s a much smarter marketing move and content move from the global streaming giant.
The second would be to offer the entire season 3 of House of Cards on iTunes for download on that date.
Either could happen, and depending on which happens, will demonstrate to us the real importance of the Australian Market to Netflix.
Until then – we have the trailer to enjoy – right?