No Netflix for New Zealand?

Apparently, there will be no Netflix for New Zealand because of data caps.

“[We heard that] next year the average Netflix customer in the US will need a data cap of one terabyte a month. I’ve got one of the bigger caps in New Zealand and I’m sitting at 60 gigabytes. I would need 1000 gigabytes of data. The whole crowd gasped at that point,” Brislen said.

If you read the article, it is all third hand information. But let’s see if we can work out where 1000 GB comes from. The average HD 2 hour movie is generously about 2GB of data. That means that 1000 GB = 500 hours of viewing per month or about 16.67 hours of viewing per day. OK, so something isn’t quite right here. I guess we would have imagine families of 4 watching 4 different hours per day for this to become the norm. Remember that is apparently an average situation.

Instead, what if you had 100GB per month? Then you could watch 50 hours per month. So it is plausible that download caps would still be an issue for solid Netflix users. But it is hardly a given.

I think it is more plausible that exclusivity deals with cable companies and ISPs are really the issue.

3 thoughts on “No Netflix for New Zealand?”

  1. Hi Joshua,
    You’re a bit off with your calculations. The average HD movie at 1080p using the h.264 codec is around 10-14gig, depending on how aggressive the movie is encoded and assuming it has a surround sound sound track.
    The higher the compression the lower the movie quality but it looks terrible on a big screen. A 2gb movie would look awful and no one would subscribe to a netflix service.
    you can check here at
    and 1 terrabyte is actually 1024gig; so one extra movie


  2. I do not pretend to know a lot about ISPs in countries other than Ausrtralia, or the deals that they set in place.

    We can get genuine unlimited broadband for pennies if you shop around in Australia.  Probably not at a speed many in say Sth Korea or Europe would gasp over.

    Hmm.  Now I had a point.  Correct me if I am wrong, but I understand that the many competitive ISPs in Australia depend on Telstra for their service.

    I would suggest that Telstra does not have a great deal of incentive to upgrade its hardware or invest in new and innovative infrastructure as long as this arrangement continues. 

    Clearly we are seeing new technology to break through that bottleneck of limited capacity, as capitalism usually does in response to a need, like ADSL 2 and other technologies that make my head hurt.

    New technology is appearing nearly every month in response to the sluggishness of monopolists/duopolists to invest at a less than optimal rate.  The big players, I think, are not playing the game very strategically.

    Or maybe they are – just biding their time and sucking the most of the last of monopoly rents out of the market while they can. 

    I don’t know what their research teams have up their sleeves for when the crunch comes like when some clever dude finds a far superiour technology.  Maybe to buy them out is common.

    I would be surpised if I was surprised.  This is a small fact lost on the people who promote the NBN in Australia.  The technology for greater and cheap internet already exists without the need for a monstrous NBN.


  3. LLoyd: The ISPs don’t depend on Telstra for the most important bottleneck, which is their access to undersea cables connecting them to the rest of the world (primarily to the US).  There are several competing cables which land in Australia, some of which Telstra has an ownership stake in and several in which it does not (eg the Southern Cross Cable).


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