Netflix has held high-level talks with free-to-air broadcaster Ten Network about partnering on the US streaming giant’s video streaming service in a bid to muscle up against deep-pocketed joint ventures backed by the Seven and Nine networks.
For Netflix, Ten can offer a large catalogue of popular Australian dramas including Puberty Blues, Wonderland and Offspring, and a partner to share high production costs. In addition, the recent lift in Ten's younger demographic would likely appeal to the streaming giant.
The surprise move comes as the company prepares to launch a version of its service in Australia and New Zealand in March, which won’t include the same content as its US service and is likely to be less attractive to subscribers.
If a deal with Ten is agreed, the move would mark the first time Netflix has adopted a major partnership strategy anywhere in the world after embarking on an aggressive international expansion as a stand-alone service.
It’s understood US-based Netflix officials contacted Ten executives late last year. Under a partnership scenario, Netflix and Ten discussed jointly funding new programs and marketing initiatives.
With the process to sell Ten stalling in recent weeks, a tie-up with Netflix would provide a welcome injection of program funding. While Ten is said to be keeping its options open, talks are continuing.