Seven and Foxtel to join forces

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 8 December 2014

Seven West Media and Foxtel have signed up to expand the Presto streaming video on demand (SVOD) service with TV content.

The newly formed joint venture announced today that Seven will take a 50% stake in Presto, in return for its back catalogue TV content.

Currently the Presto service only includes movie content from Foxtel.

Also coming onto the streaming platform will be Foxtel content, which could include HBO back-catalogue as part of the HBO content deal first announced at its upfront presentation in November.

While the new partnership said specific programming announcements would be made over the coming weeks, it did not say whether Netflix-commissioned Orange is the New Black and House of Cards would be part of the offering.

Foxtel currently holds the Australian rights to the shows for the next year at least, and adding the shows to its SVOD platform would no doubt enrage Netflix, which is due to launch in Australia in March.

So far Netflix has refused to confirm whether Orange is the New Black and House of Cards would be available on its service. Orange is the New Black is also available on incumbent service Quickflix.

Quickflix CEO Stephen Langsford told AdNews this morning that it would not be losing its HBO back-catalogue as part of the deal announced by Foxtel, saying that its deal with HBO would "continue in one form or another" for the forseeable future.

He also said Quickflix would makea  renewed push into the content market in response to other streaming players stepping up their game.

"We're going to be making a renewed push around content over the next year," Langsford said. "We are aware that there are a lot of deals being done and we have to and will be part of that."

Meanwhile, a Presto spokesman said that the joint venture was “most definitely” in the marketplace to try and tie up more content deals for the service.

The spokesman added that the entire back catalogue of shows already tied up would not be available from launch.

Both Presto and Netflix are set to compete in a five-way brawl for the SVOD market.

The US behemoth already has Australian customers signed onto its US service via a proxy or VPN connnection, but is set to launch its own version in Australian in March.

Meanwhile a $100 million Fairfax-Nine joint venture, Stan, will launch an SVOD service joining incumbents Fetch and Quickflix in the space.

It had been rumoured that Ten could join Seven in providing content to the Presto platform, but the 50:50 joint venture arrangement would seemingly lock out other players from gathering equity for the time being.

However, there still remains a possibility that Presto could buy content from outside sources and with a Foxtel-Discovery joint venture in talks to buy Ten, Ten content could become available to Foxtel for cut-throat prices should the deal come off.
However, at this stage, little is known apart from the bare bones of the deal.

Meanwhile, StreamCo has announced a content deal for its Stan platform signed with US broadcaster CBS which will allow more than 1200 hours of Showtime and CBS programming to make its way onto the platform.

This will include shows such as Nurse Jackie, Deadwood, Dexter, and a remastered version of the original Star Trek, among others.

Some of the shows announced by Stan are already on free-to-air services, but the nature of the service means it's effectively bypasses Australian rights deals to the shows negotiated on a free-to-air basis only.

Fetch has also taken the opportunity to tell media about seven new channels it's adding to its service, in the form of BBC First, BBC UKTV, BBC Knowledge, HGTV, Food Network, Universal Channel, and National Geographic Wild.

For more stories:

IPTV takes ride on wave of digital explorers

Stan to aim high with local content

Netflix coming to Australia in March

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