Advanced Television

Green light for Seven’s Presto deal

March 2, 2015

By Colin Mann

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has announced that it will not oppose the proposed acquisition of shares in the Presto Entertainment  SVoD service by Seven Network Operations, a subsidiary of Seven West Media, suggesting that competition and consumer choice in paid television services is increasing.

Presto Entertainment provides subscribers with access to general entertainment content including premium and library drama and children’s content. Foxtel has already launched the Presto Entertainment service as well as a SVoD movies service called Presto Movies. Seven proposes to acquire shares to participate in a joint venture with Foxtel for the Presto Entertainment service only.

“The ACCC determined that, following the proposed acquisition, the Presto Entertainment service would continue to face strong competition from other SVoD services such as Stan (a joint venture between Nine and Fairfax) and Netflix, which has announced it will launch in Australia this month,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said. “Competition and consumer choice in paid television services is increasing with the launch of services like Presto, Stan, and Netflix.”

The ACCC considered whether the combined involvement of Foxtel and Seven, leading providers of subscription and free to air television respectively, would give the Presto service an advantage over its SVoD competitors. However, the ACCC found that there is a wide range of content available to SVoD providers and the joint venture is unlikely to have a significant competitive advantage in obtaining access to compelling content.

Foxtel is the only Australian provider of subscription television services over cable and satellite networks.

Seven West Media is listed on the Australian Stock Exchange. It operates the free to air Seven television network and owns a range of other media assets.

The Presto TV joint venture sees each party to hold a 50 per cent interest. Presto TV will contribute content to the Presto Entertainment bundle subscription service that was formally launched in January.

Prior to approval from the ACCC, Presto TV has licensed content from Seven West Media with interim management for the service being overseen by Foxtel. The management team for the Presto TV JV will be announced shortly.

Richard Freudenstein, Foxtel CEO, said: “We have big plans for Presto Entertainment to be a leading player in the SVOD space and are excited we can accelerate plans for Presto TV with our partners Seven West Media now that the ACCC has given their consent to our joint venture. Presto TV is an important part of the Foxtel suite of entertainment services we offer consumers which includes the full service Foxtel cable or satellite product, the IP-delivered Foxtel Play and the recently launched Foxtel Broadband product.”

Tim Worner, Seven West Media CEO, said: “We are up and running with Presto. We have great partners in Foxtel. The combination of the leader in subscription television and the leader in broadcast television – coupled with our strengths in content creation – delivers a compelling offer to our audiences on Presto. Our future is our content and our ability to deliver that content anywhere anytime on any device to our audiences.”

Presto is currently offering new customers the opportunity to experience the full service with a free 30 day trial of the Presto Entertainment bundle subscription.

At the end of the 30 day free trial period, customers keen to stay on as Presto subscribers can choose between Presto TV or Presto Movies for A$9.99 a month, or continue with a Presto Entertainment TV and movies bundle subscription for A$14.99 a month, with no ongoing commitment.

Presto TV, Presto Movies and the Presto Entertainment bundle are currently available across Windows PCs, Mac, iPads, select iPhones and Android devices and via Google Chromecast. Subscribers can register up to four compatible devices and watch two devices simultaneously.

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