So this isn’t exactly surprising: Foxtel has announced plans to add TV programming to its Presto on-demand streaming service. The obvious motive behind such a change? The imminent arrival of Netflix in March and Stan the month before that.
The newly-branded Presto Entertainment service is being launched as a joint venture with Channel Seven. That suggests that if nothing else there will be a big archive of old Home & Away episodes available, though Foxtel hasn’t yet released any specifics on programming, pricing or launch dates, beyond early 2015. (The deal requires approval by the ACCC.)
Foxtel has said Presto Movies will continue as a separate standalone offering; you’ll also be able to buy Entertainment on its own, or grab both (presumably at a discount).
The big challenge for Presto Entertainment will be pricing. Right now, the movies channel costs $9.99 a month on its own. That’s half the cost it was at launch, but it’s widely assumed that Netflix will charge around $10 a month for its TV-plus-movies service. Unless Foxtel halves its price again, it’s not going to look especially competitive.
Early 2015 is going to see a glut of streaming services appearing, with Netflix expected in March and Stan, a joint venture between Nine and Fairfax, due to appear in February. If there are going to be any customers left for Presto Entertainment, it will want to launch before the market becomes overcrowded.