Last year, the Global Mode legal battle provided a feisty introduction to the competitive banter that would unfold as the SVOD market started to mature in New Zealand. And although, we are only a few weeks into January, there are already a few jabs being thrown in this space.
Following on from news that Netflix was going to clamp down on backdoor users accessing its US version, Neon has been quick to play its first hand with a responsive media release titled “Never fear NEON is Here”.
The release identifies the titles on Nexflix US that are also available on Neon, because God forbid there is any interruption to New Zealanders binge watch American Netflix when the crackdown on VPN proxies (VPN sanding for virtual private networks) begins.
Nextflix began the year with announcement that it will clampdown on servers that allow users to get around content licensing restrictions that limit where movies and shows can be viewed. The New Zealand version of Netflix has just under 500 TV shows and approximately 1500 films, whereas the US version offers over a thousand TV show and almost 5000 films.
Neon's campaign encourages Netflix subscribers who will no longer be able to watch their favourite programmes and movies to try Neon for free and “slip seamlessly back into [their] viewing routine”.
For all SVODs, the clampdown means a level playing field, as those who pay big dollars for exclusive rights to programmes will be rewarded with subscribers, without the fear of New Zealanders accessing the same content through one of Netflix’s international sites.
As the competition heats up, Neon is not the only SVOD with a library to boast. Lightbox also has a step up on the international streaming giant. Netflix sold the rights to some of its shows to the streaming service meaning Lightbox holds the popular House of Cards, Orange is the New Black and Vikings series.
Lightbox chief executive Kym Niblock told StopPress, if Netflix waits for those deals to run out, "those properties, as popular as they are, will be old content".
So far, Netflix has been quite on the advertising front in the local market. Apart from an Australasian campaign featuring Kiwi YouTube star Jamie Curry, the brand has instead relied on media writers (we'll admit some of the blame) to spread the word about its presence in the local market.
Meanwhile, both Neon and Lightbox have very publicly vied for audiences with complimentary subscriptions through Vodafone broadband and Spark broadband and a number of campaigns.
Niblock told StopPress: “I think the responsibility rests with the SVODs and the entertainment companies to educate the viewers as to why this is important for them.”
Neon have also kept up its communication with New Zealand audiences with TVC’s and this more creative campaign in partnership with DDB.
For the launch of its second season of hit TV series Fargo, the streaming service turned fashion designer with the creation of gruesome knitted sweaters.
The Fargo Woollens range was launched at the Auckland headquarters of iconic Kiwi fashion label, Huffer.