Netflix has taken streaming rights for Rhys Darby’s comedy show, Short Poppies, and will screen it to American and British from 3 April. TVNZ has yet to announce a screening date for the 8 x 30′ show here, which was supported by NZ On Air back in 2012. NZ On Air support doesn’t require a show to be broadcast in NZ before it screens anywhere else, although such a condition might be in the terms agreed between a broadcaster and producer.
NZ On Air terms do require a producer to treat a show in a commercial manner, as the agency receives a nett 25% of any sales a show makes. Short Poppies airing overseas before it’s done so here is a very unusual occurrence since most NZ shows don’t sell overseas until after broadcast here, if at all.
Once the show screens elsewhere, it’s a fair bet it will quickly become available through illegal torrent sites. Although geo-blocked, Netflix also is a service that is easily available from NZ via a VPN.
Much of TVNZ’s audience might not be in the habit of downloading shows, but much of Darby’s audience falls within the demographic that does. The potential loss for TVNZ is not only in the viewing numbers, but – depending when the network decides to screen Short Poppies here – also in advocacy. It’s Darby’s fans who are most likely to watch the series before it’s on TVNZ, but any buzz around the series their social media activity generates will dissipate fairly quiclky.
Netflix acquired the rights for the show as part of its push to deliver more first-run content to subscribers. Darby is known to US TV audiences for Flight of the Conchords and, to a select bunch of US film festival goers, for his recent turn as a werewolf in Jemaine Clement & Taika Waititi’s What We Do in the Shadows.
Netflix commissioned the adaptation of House of Cards, which has now completed two seasons in the US. Here, season 1 is currently screening on TV3 and is available on MediaWorks’ recently revamped VOD service, 3NOW.