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Foxtel To Launch Netflix Style Service For PC Owners

By David Richards | Sunday | 22/09/2013

PC owners will soon be able to get access to a new Netflix-style "video on demand" subscription service with Foxtel set to take on free to air TV stations with a new "Presto" service.

Foxtel has not put an exact date on the launch of Presto except to say it will be "later this year". The service will be launched initially for PC and Mac computers and will be available on compatible iOS and Android tablets soon afterwards.

The rushed decision to roll out the new service comes as TV stations Nine, Seven and Ten move to roll out their own subscription services that could strip business away from Foxtel who sell one of the most expensive subscription TV services in the world. 

According to the Australian newspaper which is owned by News Limited who also own 50% of Foxtel the Pronto service is designed to take on players such as Quickflix and Fetch TV.

Currently Fetch TV is preparing to launch their own content service in Australia with a tablet and smartphone interface that is superior to what Foxtel currently delivers. 

The Nine Network also is close to launching a new content service in an effort to take on Foxtel, the new service is set to be significantly cheaper than what Foxtel sell their content for.

Presto customers will get a monthly pass for $24.99, with additional charges applying for pay-per view titles, and they can come and go with no lock-in contract.

Viewers will be able to get on-demand access to all content from the seven live Foxtel Movies channels: Premiere, Comedy, Drama/ Romance, Thriller/Crime, Action/Adventure, Family and Masterpiece.

The content will include almost all of Australia's most recent top 100 box office movies as well as a vault of older titles, the playlist regularly being updated.

"Our strategy is very much about creating a range of different products at different price points," Mr Freudenstein told the Australian newspaper.

"The core Foxtel cable and satellite service is always going to be our premium service.

"But we recognise that as internet delivery becomes more popular we need to be part of that as well."

It follows the July launch of internet TV service Foxtel Play.

"Foxtel Play is a cut down version of Foxtel, smaller packages at cheaper prices. But we also recognise there's another segment who particularly like movies and so we can expand our customer base. It's certainly more like a Netflix-type service, but different: a subscription service providing a lot of on-demand content."

Mr Fraser said Foxtel was "moving further outside its set-top box architecture to embrace the internet as a means of delivering content", in the wake of previous moves in that direction through offerings such as its Foxtel Go iPad application.

"Networks now need to be on the front foot to take action before the video-streaming prize is snatched from their grasp," he said. This was particularly important for nine with its pending float.

Mr Freudenstein said Presto would not eat into Foxtel's cable subscriber base. "We've done a lot of research on our existing subscribers and (it) shows this won't particularly cannibalise our existing services," he said.

"It's a very different service. It appeals to a very specific segment of movie lovers that don't want any other channels."

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