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Aussie SVOD Service 'Presto' Shuttering

5 Oct, 2016 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Separately, bankrupt Quickflix acquired by U.S. investment banker

Presto, the Australian subscription streaming video service launched in 2014 to combat Netflix, will cease operations Jan. 31, 2017.

In its place, Presto co-owner Foxtel in December will roll out “Foxtel Play,” a broadband-based subscription TV service. To do that, the multichannel video program distributor acquired Seven West Media’s 50% stake in Presto.

The new service will have five different pricing tiers, including two options for drama priced at $15 per month each or $25 for both, while at the $10 per month level, there will be one option for “lifestyle,” one for “documentary” and one for “kids.” In addition, customers will be able to choose a “sports” tier for an additional $25 and the “movies” tier for $20 per month.

“Foxtel Play will be a simpler, cheaper and more flexible IP delivered product, which will create much better value for our customers. The new offering will mirror the successful launch of HBO Now in the U.S. and Now TV by Sky in the U.K.,” CEO Peter Tonagh said in a statement.

Presto subs will be transitioned to Foxtel Play and given the option to select from menu of content offerings.

“I am sure that existing and potential customers will be delighted at the flexibility that the new Foxtel Play will offer,” Tonagh said, adding that HBO and Showcase would be included for $15 per month.

Indeed, Presto never connected with subs, attracting just 1.5% of Aussie households (143,000), according to media analyst Roy Morgan Research. The company found that nearly 55% of Presto subs also had access to Netflix, while 27% had access to SVOD service Stan.

“Presto struggled since its inception to gain a foothold in the booming SVOD market, despite a comparable price and range of television and film content, including exclusives,” said Roy Morgan CEO Michael Levine.

The executive believes Stan — not Foxtel — could be the biggest beneficiary of Presto subs.

“There are over 100,000 Presto subscribers who don’t already have Stan — and will have a spare $10 a month to spend on SVOD come the new year,” Levine said.

Separately, Los Angeles-based investment banker Erik Pence acquired bankrupt Quickflix for $1.3 million. Australia’s first SVOD service had been in financial administration with Deloitte since May.

In a statement, Deloitte spokesperson Jason Tracy said the Quickflix transaction was good for all parties involved, including creditors.

"Quickflix has encountered corporate challenges and impediments in a highly competitive environment. As administrators, we have been able to continue trading the business since our appointment, reduce costs, retain value, keep employing the majority of staff, and conduct a global sale process," he said.

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