Australian pay-TV operator Foxtel, which launched its Foxtel Play OTT service to connected device mid-summer, is further strengthening its armoury against existing and potential subscription TV sector players by revealing details of a video-on-demand platform offering extensive movie content over the Internet.
The new – dubbed ‘Presto’ – is a pre-emptive strike against mooted similar initiatives by Seven West Media and Nine Entertainment Co. It will also better equip Foxtel to compete with IPTV players such as Quickflix and Fetch TV.
Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein noted that there was a growing appetite among viewers for movie content delivered over the Internet for different devices, but said that Foxtel’s strategy was “very much about creating a range of different products at different price points,” with the core Foxtel cable and satellite service continuing to be the operator’s premium service. “But we recognise that as Internet delivery becomes more popular, we need to be part of that as well.”
He described Foxtel Play as a cutdown version of Foxtel, smaller packages at cheaper prices. “But we also recognise there’s another segment who particularly like movies and so we can expand our customer base. It’s certainly more like a Netflix-type service, but different: a subscription service providing a lot of on-demand content,” he explained.
Presto customers will get a monthly pass for $24.99, with additional charges applying for pay-per view titles,with no lock-in contract. The service will be launched initially for PC and Mac users, with compatible iOS and Android tablets following subsequently.
On-demand access will be available to all content from the seven live Foxtel Movies channels: Premiere, Comedy, Drama/ Romance, Thriller/Crime, Action/Adventure, Family and Masterpiece.
Freudenstein refuted suggestions that the new service would eat into Foxtel’s cable subscriber base, suggesting that the operator had carried out a lot of research on its existing subscribers, which showed it wouldn’t particularly cannibalise existing services. “It’s a very different service. It appeals to a very specific segment of movie lovers that don’t want any other channels.”