Fetch TV rides the Netflix wave
Netflix’s rocketing growth in Australia has turbo-charged Fetch TV, which provides a range of IPTV services to Optus, iiNet, and Dodo.
The OTT (over-the-top) platform had about 170,000 subscribers before Netflix’s Australian service was integrated into its second-generation set top boxes.
“The sign up rate and usage of Netflix on Fetch TV has exceeded even our most optimistic forecasts,” CEO Scott Lorson tells IF. “Fetch TV now has well over 200,000 subscribers and is on track to exceed 250,000 by the end of the financial year.”
Launched on March 24, Netflix is estimated to have upwards of 500,000 subscribers, outpacing Stan, Presto Movies/Presto TV and Quickflix.
Majority-owned by Malaysia’s Astro Overseas Limited, Fetch TV is a hybrid pay TV provider that integrates a PVR, the free-to-air broadcasters and their catch-up services, 40 subscription channels and a rental library of than 4,000 movies.
The service will introduce electronic sell through (EST) later this year, enabling customers to buy movies and TV series, and plans to expand to New Zealand.
“Early indications suggest Netflix has already lapped the field and is on track to hold a very dominant position,” Lorson said.
“Stan, Presto and Quickflix are certainly having a red hot crack but time will tell if their commercial models are viable given Netflix’s dominant position. We continue to be bullish about the prospects for OTT players whose offerings are unique and differentiated.
“The success of iTunes in transactional, the NBA Season Pass in subscription, and AnimeLab in AVOD (advertising-supported VOD) are three examples.”
Lorson expects the surging popularity of streaming platforms will speed up the switch in home entertainment from physical to digital.
“There is no question that DVD rental and purchase will continue to experience softening demand and that we will see strong growth in SVOD, TVOD and EST revenues,” he predicts.
“The key questions relate to the pace and the size of the overall pie. Fetch TV is effectively spreading our chips on the table by betting that a complete solution offering FTA, SVOD, TVOD and traditional linear subscription will be required to win the living room and that all important HDMI1 position.”