‘Bad Education’ (Photo credit: HBO)
Launched today, Foxtel’s low-cost entertainment streaming service Binge offers 10,000 hours of content, rising to 20,000 hours by the end of the year – but no exclusives and relatively few Australian shows.
Yet executives are confident the curated mix of drama, movies, lifestyle and reality shows and documentaries will appeal to the younger segment of the population who will never subscribe to Foxtel and are hooked on streaming content.
With similar pricing to Netflix and Stan, its monthly fees range from $10 for one stream in Standard Definition to $14 for two streams in HD and $18 for four streams.
It may well be the last throw of the dice if the platform co-owned by News Corp. and Telstra is to succeed in arresting the slide in Foxtel’s customers and the company’s revenues and profits.
Executives at Streamotion, which houses Binge and Kayo Sports, tested the concept and content with focus groups and in wider surveys.
“We know there is a streaming generation that hasn’t come to Foxtel because that is not the way they have grown up consuming content,” Binge chief product officer Brian Lenz tells IF.
“Binge brings content to a new group who have not accessed it before and it enables them to stream it on the device they want at a great value price.”
Scotching suggestions the new service will cannibalise viewers from Foxtel Now, Lenz says: “We’re growing the total streaming market and we see very little of that coming from Foxtel.”
Binge CEO Julian Ogrin predicts the number of SVOD-connected households, currently 4 million, will double over the next four years, and the average household will subscribe to 2-3 services.
The local content includes Foxtel Originals such as Picnic at Hanging Rock, the movie Kenny, Outback Truckers and The Real Housewives of Melbourne.
‘Westworld’ (Photo credit: HBO).
The programming draws heavily on Foxtel’s recently-signed deal with WarnerMedia, including Bad Education, the HBO movie starring Hugh Jackman and Allison Janney as the perpetrators of the largest public school embezzlement in the US, and the series Succession, Westworld, Big Little Lies, Breeders, The Plot Against America, The Outsider and Mrs America.
Among the library shows are Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, The Office, Seinfeld, Modern Family and The Walking Dead.
The complete seasons of Friends and The Big Bang Theory will be added later in the year, moving over from Netflix and Stan.
The launch line-up includes more than 800 movies plus David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet, the Real Housewives and Keeping Up with Kardashians franchises, Grand Designs UK and Making It with Amy Poehler.
Lenz says 100 new and returning series from NBCUniversal, the BBC, FX, Sony and HBO Max Originals will premiere over the next 12 months.
Children’s shows sourced from Cartoon Network, Nick Jr and CBeebies will come online in two or three months after the platform adds a parental control function.
The user-interface features an in-house-designed ‘kill the scroll’ functionality which makes it easy for customers to navigate their way through the platform.
That includes Binge Centres, which offer behind-the-scenes footage, interviews and more information about shows and movies; Binge Lists, where users can save shows for later, re-watch a favourite or continue from where they left off; and Discover, curated carousels to help users discover content by mood, theme, moments and top 5 selections. A download-to-device function will be added in about 90 days.