news National pay TV giant Foxtel has launched a new online service dubbed ‘Presto’, which will see consumers charged $24.99 per month to access “a regularly updating collection of great films”, all streamed through the Internet, as opposed to its existing pay TV platform.
In a statement issued yesterday, the company said Presto’s launch, slated for later this year, “aligns perfectly with the increasing appetite for movie content delivered over the internet across different devices”. It will feature content already licensed to the Foxtel Movies channels, including access to “the biggest box office releases of 2012 at launch along with on demand access to the Foxtel Movies vault of recent and older favourite movies”
Richard Freudenstein, Foxtel Chief Executive, said: “Australians are hungry for different ways to experience great entertainment when they want and how they want. The launch of Presto as a second brand allows us to meet the needs of different customer segments more effectively and is another way Foxtel is continuing to make its content more accessible.”
“Foxtel offers distinctive ways to watch: the market-leading full Foxtel service for the whole family, complete with the widest range of channels, high quality products like iQ, HD and Foxtel Go. We also offer flexible and spontaneous access to our content with Foxtel Play. Presto is the next major step in offering customers a product that’s just right for them. Presto will be a great online service for movie lovers with streaming through an intuitive interface and great movies backed by curated collections, recommendations and critics reviews.”
“Our aim is to utilise Foxtel’s assets and expertise in a smart way to capture a healthy share of the growing digital market. We are already investing in content, platforms and experiences to delight movie-loving customers so it makes sense that we launch Presto as part of our digital media content strategy.”
Presto includes access to all seven live Foxtel Movies channels: Foxtel Movies Premiere, Foxtel Movies Comedy, Foxtel Movies Drama/ Romance, Foxtel Movies Thriller/ Crime, Foxtel Movies Action/ Adventure, Foxtel Movies Family, and Foxtel Movies Masterpiece without the need to buy-through a basic tier, unlike Foxtel’s more traditional pay TV service.
Foxtel Movies offers “the best of all the major studios and key independents” including MGM, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Roadshow Films, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox, The Walt Disney Company, Warner Bros. Entertainment, Hopscotch Entertainment One, ICON, Studiocanal and Transmission Films.
Presto will launch initially for PC and Mac computers and will be available on “compatible iOS and Android tablets” to Presto subscribers shortly after. It will be available to all Australians “with a suitable internet connection”. Movie lovers will be able to connect in minutes, the company said, and will be free to come and go from the service on a monthly basis, with no lock-in contract.
The launch of Presto follows the launch of a similar service, Foxtel Play, in July. However, that service is focused on the broader Foxtel offering, including television shows, for example. The company also has an existing mobile platform, Go, although the company caused a small degree of controversy in July when it blocked non-Samsung Android and jailbroken Apple devices from being able to access the platform.
$24.99 a month, for access to a slew of modern movies? Sounds pretty good, but I don’t really want to sign up for a subscription service for movies. Instead, what I want to do is be able to purchase individual films — and the ones I want, not ones that Foxtel picks for me. I think the launch of Presto is a positive step for Foxtel, but I can’t help but suspect we’ll see many of the same lock-in, subscription shenanigans with Presto that we’ve seen from the company in the past. Foxtel can’t help but think about things in terms of subscriptions, and while that model may work for traditional pay TV, I’m not so sure it works for entertainment content online, unless it’s delivered in certain specific verticals, such as sport, where there is a demand for ongoing content.
Image credit: Screenshot of Foxtel website