Netflix Inc is to launch its streaming service in Australia and New Zealand in March, with domestic rivals already shaping up for a fight. Netflix had been expected to expand into the territories for some time and the move continues its international expansion - which now reaches 50 million people.

House of Cards NetflixKevin Spacey [L] and Robin Wright [R] in Netflix's signature series House of Cards, which will not be available to Australian subscribers

The pricing model for the new territories is yet to be set, though Netflix charges users $8.99 a month in the U.S.

Australia, in particular, offers a potentially lucrative opportunity for Netflix. A new broadband network being built is expected to give 93 per cent of the country's 23 million population high-speed internet access. 

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Foxtel, which is part-owned by News Corp, halved its prices to $21.68 a month amid reports it's struggling to lift its market share owing to Netflix's impending arrival.

Newspaper publisher Fairfax Media Ltd and broadcaster Nine Entertainment Co Holdings Ltd are reportedly planning a $100 million joint venture streaming service, widely seen as a way to get in ahead of Netflix.

Orange is the New BlackTaylor Schilling in 'Orange is the New Black' - another Netflix show that will not be available to Australian Netflix subscribers

"The risk with Netflix is that it can replace existing home media sources like free-to-air or pay TV or things like that," one cinema analyst told Reuters.

There may be a glimmer of hope for Netflix rivals. As Dan Barrett of The Guardian notes, many subscribers in Australia and New Zealand are likely to be disappointed by a smaller library that will miss out several key titles. Netflix will not offer House of Cards or Orange is the New Black - two of its signature series - when it launches down under, instead offering the yet-to-launch Marco Polo and BoJack Horseman.

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Last month, Netflix launched in France with a severely limited library that was just enough to justify its 8.99 euro monthly cost. 

Nevertheless, the streaming service will increase in value in 2015 with the launch of numerous high-profile series including the Marvel superhero show Daredevil, new sci-fi series called Sens8 and a new Lily Tomlin comedy, Grace & Frankie.