The subscription video service Presto will shut down in January 2017, after Seven West Media announced its plan to sell its Presto share to Foxtel. Presto fans are encouraged to subscribe to the revamped Foxtel Play in December, gaining access to all the content Foxtel has to offer at a flexible price.
The competition on the Australian streaming market is fierce. After EzyFlix shut down, it looks like Presto will be discontinued as well. Foxtel and Seven West Media announced that Foxtel will acquire Seven West Media’s interest in the Presto TV joint venture.
“It has been great working with the team at Seven on Presto and we look forward to future collaborations. We are delighted to be able to offer Presto subscribers access to the new look Foxtel Play, which we know will be highly attractive to them,” Peter Tonagh, Foxtel CEO, said in a statement.
Originally a Foxtel-owned movies-only streaming service, Presto reinvented itself in the first half of 2015 by teaming up with Seven West Media, owners of Channel Seven, to bring TV series content to Presto as well and compete on the same playing field as its rivals. But despite a lavish ad campaign last year featuring Naomi Watts – and the addition of acclaimed shows such as Mr Robot – Presto never seemed to quite find its niche. A huge selection of movies was paired with a modest selection of TV, much of it on limited-time licences (so shows would vanish without explanation after only a few months).
Although Presto will cease on 31 January 2017, subscribers may be interested to access a revamped Foxtel Play starting December 2016. Presto and Foxtel Play subscribers will have exclusive Australian access to two new Home and Away specials to be released this summer.
As for the new Foxtel Play, representatives for the telco are hopeful that low prices and flexible packages will offer consumers greater choice and ease of access to Foxtel’s premium content, without the need to sign up to a fixed term contract.
The new service will have five different entry level tiers to match viewers’ interests; including Drama and Entertainment packs priced at $15/month each or $25 for both. Meanwhile, at the $10/month level there will be one option for Lifestyle, one for Documentary, and one for Kids. In addition, customers will be able to take the Sports tier for an extra $25/month and the Movies tier for an additional $20/month – that puts sport at a minimum $35/month and movies at a minimum $30/month.
Subscribers will have access to all linear channels in the tier along with all of the on-demand, catch up and library content available to that tier plus mobile and tablet access via Foxtel Go. Foxtel Play will feature on-demand playback of a huge library of content, with a new HBO deal marking the end of limited-time streaming – you should be able to pick a show and binge every season at your leisure. From December, existing Foxtel Play customers will be transferred to the new pricing, with the package that best aligns with their current service.
“I am sure that existing and potential customers will be delighted at the flexibility that the new Foxtel Play will offer. For example, Foxtel is the Home of HBO and Showcase will be included in both the Drama and Entertainment tiers, which means that shows like Game of Thrones will now be available for $15/month,” Foxtel’s CEO added.
Presto customers will be invited to transition to the new Foxtel Play packages from December 2016. According to Foxtel representatives, all Presto entitlements will be honoured. Should any promotional entitlements remain after 31 January, Presto customers will be offered appropriate alternative content.
It’s a smart move by Foxtel overall – they’re playing to their strengths, and assuming the new service is provided in HD (reports are that they’re “looking at” HD support with no ETA) it’s an absolute win for TV fans, who’ll get both low-cost access to premium Foxtel channels and a de facto streaming service in the one package.
We’ll keep you up to date with any developments as they happen, but in the meantime, you’ve got only a few months left to get through that Presto watch list you’ve been building up – get to it!