Home Your Tech Entertainment Hey, Presto: Foxtel to launch new streaming movie service
Hey, Presto: Hi! Foxtel's new movie streaming service coming soon Hey, Presto: Hi! Foxtel's new movie streaming service coming soon Featured

Fast, instantaneous, magic, rapidly, suddenly: these are all synonyms for the word “Presto”, the name of the new movie streaming service from Foxtel with an un-presto launch date “slated for later this year”.

Foxtel, Australia’s dominant pay/subscription television service, once delivered via cable and satellite only, but now also available on smartphones, tablets, smart TVs, PCs, Macs, Xboxes and Foxtel’s own set-top boxes, is launching a new movie streaming service called Presto "later this year".

Foxtel calls it “a new brand” and “a new platform”, and says it is set to deliver “a new way for Australians to access movies”.

While the tagline “a new way” wasn’t too successful for the former Federal Government, which lost to what is now the new Government in a landslide, chances are pretty high that Foxtel’s “new way” will be much more presto popular.

Promising “live and on demand access to Foxtel’s most popular movie content with a regularly updating collection of great films, ad-break-free”, with the price to be AUD $24.99 a month – with no lock-in contract – for what sounds like a large catalog of content, with the caveat that “Presto Rental” pay-per-view titles will cost extra.

Coming to PCs and Macs first, and coming to “compatible iOS and Android tablets shortly thereafter”, which includes the ability to stream via 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi and fixed connections, Foxtel looks like it really wants to launch Presto with a bang – while, after some years, starting to FINALLY catch up with a-la-carte subscription TV offerings from pay TV providers in other countries like Hong Kong – although Foxtel is yet to do this with its own set-top boxes, of course.

Proffering content from the existing Foxtel Movies channels, which will “include access to the biggest box office releases of 2012 at launch”, there will also be “on demand access to the Foxtel Movies vault of recent and older favourite movies”.

Presto will include 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”, with the media release informing us that this will be “without the need to buy-through a basic tier”.

We’re also to be tempted by the statement that “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.”

No doubt QuickFlix, which recently sought a new injection of funds, and any future potential Aussie Netflix operation will be taking great interest in Foxtel’s moves today, given Foxtel’s clear strength in paid for digital media content and content delivery.

Foxtel’s CEO, Richard Freudenstein, said in a statement that:  “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.”

What do you think, dear reader: will Foxtel’s Presto service be successful and will you sign up for it, or are you waiting for Netflix, checking out Quickflix or happy with your existing Foxtel subscription?

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Alex Zaharov-Reutt

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One of Australia’s best-known technology journalists and consumer tech experts, Alex has appeared in his capacity as technology expert on all of Australia’s free-to-air and pay TV networks, including stints as presenter of Ch 10’s Internet Bright Ideas, Ch 7’s Room for Improvement and tech expert on Ch 9’s Today Show, among many other news and current affairs programs.

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