Binge is Australia’s newest streaming service and in order for it to avoid a flop, it needs to offer something substantial given the existing competition. With Netflix and Stan holding the lion’s share of subscribers in Australia outside of Foxtel, let’s see how Binge shapes up to them.
How competitive is Binge pricing compared to Netflix and Stan?
A streaming service’s price point is probably the biggest factor in determining which one stays after the trial period. It’s a big part of why Foxtel Now wasn’t as popular among the streaming generation — those who reject cable and were, perhaps, former pirates.
Binge‘s pricing lies somewhere between Netflix and Stan’s — $10 for the basic standard definition package while the $14 and $18 will get you HD content and more simultaneous streams.
Alternatively, you could just get Amazon Prime for $6.99 a month or Disney+ for $8.99 as both will give you the maximum streams and quality for a single tier price under $10. If you’re not too concerned with what content you get, you’ll save yourself the money and choice paralysis while getting HD and 4K content when it’s available.
|Streaming service||Monthly cost||Maximum simultaneous streams||Quality per plan|
|Foxtel Binge||$10, $14, $18||4||$10 for SD, $14 or $18 for HD|
|Netflix||$9.99, $13.99, $19.99||4||$9.99 for SD, $13.99 for HDC, 4K Ultra-HD with $19.99 plan|
|Stan||$10, $14, $17||4||$10 for SD, $14 for HD, $17 for 4K Ultra-HD|
|Foxtel Now||$25 – $104||2||Some content available in HD|
|Amazon Prime||$6.99||3||Selected content available in 4K|
|Disney+||$8.99||4||HDR and 4K streaming included|
|Apple TV+||$7.99||6||HDR and 4K streaming included|
|Hayu||$6.99||1||HD included, no 4K available|
|10 All Access||$9.99||3||HD included, no 4K available|
|YouTube Premium||$14.99||1||HD included, no 4K available|
What features does Binge have?
On the surface, the pricing between Foxtel’s Binge, Netflix and Stan is now negligible but there are still some differences in the features being offered for that amount. For example, none of Binge’s titles will come with 4K content so in that respect, Netflix and Stan offer better quality for their top-tier packages.
Otherwise, Binge comes with all the usual features one now expects with a streaming service. It has BingeLists for you to add shows or movies of interest, there’s a 15-second rewind button, and clicking on a show will bring up a quick synopsis as well as the seasons and episodes available.
Having said that, the Surprise Me feature might be of interest to some. It allows you to be surprised with a randomly chosen title. When I tested the feature, the 2012 movie Savages came up and I was given the option to give it another go. That second option was Air Bud: Golden Receiver — nice try. It’s possible the algorithm will feed some more of my preferences in after I use the platform for a longer time but I’ll likely pass on the feature for now. I now need to remove those options from my ‘Continue Watching’ list, which currently doesn’t seem possible. Tsk.
When it comes to user experience, Netflix has always reigned supreme. Its design has continuously been intuitive and reactive but simple enough for users less familiar with using online content. Disney+’s release also mirrored much of the same aesthetic but functional design we’re all used to.
Stan has struggled a little more with a clunkier system that initially lacked a lot of the convenient features Netflix has, such as the quick 15-second rewind gesture and a simple search function. Thankfully, adjustments in the past years have included simple design changes like adding preview pages to give you more information on a show or movie before you decide to watch it.
While we’ve only used Binge for a few hours so far, it seems the user experience far exceeds Foxtel Now and is more in line with what Disney+ and Netflix offers. Scrolling down the platform will reveal hero images for featured shows you’ll be able to scroll horizontally through. Tiles themed to a specific genre or theme are wedged in between these featured shows like you’d see on other streaming services.
Some features are noticeably lacking, however, and the biggest seems to be closed captions. This is a pretty glaring accessibility issue but will affect anyone with preferences for subtitles as well. With content in another language, like Apocalypto, the captions appear to be hard-coded.
What content does Binge have and is it exclusive?
With major price differences out of the way, it’s really going to come down to what content you’d prefer to have at your disposal. Netflix has its ever-growing repertoire of original content, Disney has all its much-loved content and Stan has plenty of quality licensed shows. What Binge will offer that the others don’t is its big exclusivity deals. If you’re a fan of any HBO or FX show, Binge is where you’ll need to stream it legally in Australia.
That’s probably its biggest calling card because while there’s plenty of other great content on the platform, it’s not actually all that exclusive. Take, for example, Seinfeld, The Office, 30 Rock and Parks & Recreation. All these shows are great and very bingeable but they’re also available on other services like Stan and Amazon Prime Video.
Binge’s exclusive HBO shows include the classic but already ageing shows such as Game of Thrones, The Wire, The Sopranos and Chernobyl. For many, this will probably not be enough on its own but the hope is that another show of Game of Thrones proportions will land in Binge’s lap soon enough.
The good news is that Binge does have new, potential classics on the way when the HBO Max content starts to filter through in the coming weeks. Lifehacker Australia understands Foxtel’s aim is to release this content as close as it can to US drops.
To give you teaser of the sort of content you’ll find on Binge, this list includes a mix of HBO Max, legacy HBO content and non-HBO content:
- 30 Rock
- Bad Education
- Band of Brothers
- Big Little Lies
- Boardwalk Empire
- Castle Rock
- Doom Patrol
- Forged In Fire
- Game of Thrones
- Grand Designs
- Keeping Up With The Kardashians
- Modern Family
- Mrs America
- Parks & Recreation
- Planet Earth
- Project Runway
- Sex & The City
- Six Feet Under
- The Americans
- The Great British Bake Off
- The Leftovers
- The Newsroom
- The Office (US)
- The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills
- The Sopranos
- The Walking Dead
- The War Of The Worlds
- The Wire
- True Blood
- True Detective
- What We Do In The Shadows
Binge is not going to rip apart the streaming service scene in Australia but it will definitely provide a better platform and price for those wanting to watch the content. The question remains whether all these streaming services can truly co-exist but we’ll find out soon enough.
Foxtel has confirmed a new streaming service, expected to be called Binge, will be released on 25 May but its inclusion in the crowded streaming market has many curious how it will be different. Here's what we know and whether experts think it will really work.Read more