Presto, a new service from Foxtel, will offer a monthly subscription to stream Foxtel Movies live and on demand for $19.99 per month starting tomorrow. Customers who sign up soon will get their first month for just $4.99.
The movie service will include Foxtel’s newer and older titles ad-free from the Premiere, Comedy, Romance, Thriller, Action, Family and Masterpiece Movies channels. As of the 10 th of April the Disney Movie channel will also be added to the lineup. So far no TV shows are available.
This is the first sign we’ve seen from Australia’s largest PayTV service that it’s getting ready to compete properly in the online market with services like Netflix. We’d argue that it’s hardly a “game-changing” move, as claimed by Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein, at least not globally. Within the context of Australia those words may prove more accurate, as the bigger streaming services are yet to make their way Down-Under.
$20 per month isn’t asking too much if the service is fast and the library sufficiently large and diverse, especially if you’re a movie buff. If you compare it to Netflix’s $8, which gives you access to movies, TV series and documentaries, and you might start smelling that old “Australia tax” stereotype that so often forces Aussies to pay more than other countries.
This may be a more pressing matter than you might think. Over 20,000 Aussies already subscribe to Netflix, despite it not being technically available in Australia. That's 20,000 subscribers who have gone out of their way to pay for a service that is currently illegal to use in their own country. Thanks to these figures, Netflix is reportedly investigating the possibility of expanding Down Under ahead of schedule. Presto is going to have its work cut out for its fledgling service if this happens in the near future.
Still, Presto is a good start and a step in the right direction for Foxtel. It’s about time it gave its viewers the choice to view their paid-for content whenever they want, and not be at the whim of the TV guide, or subject to the limits of their Foxtel Box’s recording function.