With the news that another pay subscription streaming TV service is about to hit our shores next year, it’s starting to feel a little “when it rains it pours”. From Foxtel Go to Netflix, Stan and now Presto Entertainment, it’s time to sit down and look at just is ‘streaming subscription TV’ and is it something you’ll want?
Subscription TV isn’t a new thing here in Australia. We’ve had Austar and Foxtel and Optus TV streaming all kinds of television shows into our homes for years all for a monthly subscription fee but we were restricted to programming schedules and having to buy channel packs containing shows and channels we really didn’t watch. Free to air TV also offers us a wide range of shows, though once again, we’re restricted to scheduling, delays, changes in programming, adverts and more. We turned to illegally downloading our favorites programs in an attempt to keep up-to-date with our US counterparts so as to stay informed and join in the conversations on social media and to also avoid spoilers.
Subscription TV on a streaming basis however is only just starting to make it’s mark. Netflix is easily the biggest of the names making the move to break into Australia while Presto, while known and already in the market, only offered movies – until announcing a joint deal with Channel 7 and Foxtel to bring TV programs today. Stan, the newest of the bunch, is still in baby steps, keeping their content and cards closed off.
Netflix, when it launches will offer a mass library of television shows and movies (that they plan to expand after it’s initial release), though in general, their extensive catalogue consists of content that is usually a year, or a season, behind it’s first run. (hence it’s adoration by binge worthy viewers) They have the rights to air Batman prequel series Gotham, but can’t make it available until a year after it’s premiere on channel 9 – so October 2015 and aside from it’s original content of Orange is the new black and House of Cards, all programs are usually classed as second-run series. Netflix is set to launch in March 2015 and will cost subscribers approximately $10 a month
Stan is a joint venture between Nine Entertainment Co and Fairfax Media and plans to make available new content as it becomes available to subscribers. While not revealing too much, Stan announced they’ll have exclusively the entire series run of Breaking Bad and it’s highly anticipated spin-off series Better Caul Saul. As CEO, Mike Sneesby (speaking to gizmodo.com.au) states “Nobody else will have that. Not Foxtel, not Netflix, not broadcast. We make a deal that sees us put it onto Nine, but only if we say so.” “If it’s big on BitTorrent, if it’s big on Netflix, we wanted it.” Stan is set to launch in February 2015 and will cost subscribers $10 per month with no lock-in contracts.
The newly announced Presto Entertainment is a joint venture between Foxtel, Seven West Media and Presto to bring a “broad range of locally commissioned and internationally acquired content including drama, comedy, factual and entertainment programming”. No content has been announced and no start date either. Price wise, don’t be too surprised if it matches Presto’s current $9.99 per month it has for it’s streaming movies offer.
So the big question is, which one do you subscribe to? All will feature content and all will be less than $10 per month. When they all arrive, do your homework. Each plan on offering different and exclusive content so know what you want and see who is offering it. Also, be wary of minimum subscription periods. Netflix allow users to cancel at will while Presto and Stan are yet to reveal if they will allow this.
So what’s the end game of subscription streaming TV? Namely, it’s an untapped market in Australia, but it’s also a plausible solution to stop the mass of torrenting that’s occurring here. Streamco (Stan) while doing research on streaming subscription tv found that “half of pirates it surveyed would pay for the content they were downloading if it were available on a cheap and convenient platform.”
Do you plan on heading into the streaming subscription TV area? Does one stand out better than the others? Sound off in the comments below!
Update – 20/1/15
Streaming service STAN is set to go live shortly and judging by their updated website, there’s a slew of content ready to go when it launches. Programs including Nurse Jackie, Dexter, Hannibal, Californication, The Bridge, The Tudors, Orphan Black, Doctor Who and Masters of Sex are all featured in the sites background image.