Seven eyes “new business model”

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 12 May 2015

Seven West has elected to stream its exclusive secured US drama Aquarius online first – ahead of any TV scheduling.

The US drama will be first-run on its subscription video on demand (SVOD) platform Presto despite being ordered before Seven West Media's involvement in the streaming service, as Seven eyes a “new business model”

Yesterday Presto announced that it had picked up first-run rights on the series, making all 13 episodes of the drama, which is yet to air in the US, available for binge-viewing for 28 days from 29 May.

After this time, episodes will be pulled from Presto, and instead will start to appear on the digital platform week-by-week alongside the TV run.

A spokesperson for Seven confirmed the series will air on Seven, but did not confirm when the series would appear on its TV network, but said that it would.

“We are targeting all potential consumers of the content we own and distribute. Seven reaches over 15 million Australians every week. That is a huge number,” the spokesperson said.

“Presto gives us the opportunity to further extend our reach and content in a new business model.

“We see SVOD through Presto as a tremendous platform to add to our audience delivery and complement our leadership in broadcast television.”

It is believed buyers are not particularly concerned about the show's appearance on Presto potentially cannibalising the show's TV audience, as it is not expected that the show will do heavy overnight numbers on broadcast anyhow, according to sources.

However, with an average lead-time of about 13 weeks against the buy, it is unclear at this stage whether buyers were informed that the show would be heading to Presto when they bought inventory in the potential timeslot.

The show was first previewed to buyers at Seven's upfront event at the end of October last year.

At the time, it was rumoured Seven West would buy into a SVOD platform, but it did not publicly confirm its involvement with Presto until December.

In a statement yesterday, Presto director Sean James said the arrangement could be a sign of things to come.

“We have always been committed to providing Presto subscribers with a compelling, evolving content offering and Aquarius is the first of a number of exclusive series we intend to launch on the service in coming months, so watch this space,” James said.

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