Aussie Netflix Would Be 'Inferior' To Foxtel's Presto... According To Foxtel

Earlier this year, Foxtel launched an on-demand streaming service called Presto, a competitor to the US-based Netflix that doesn't require one to go through various hoops to gain access. However, even with a local option available, I'm sure we'd all be happy if Netflix entered the Australian market. It'd be "inferior" to Presto, of course, so you shouldn't... wait, why would it be inferior?

Unsurprisingly, the source of this comment is Presto director Shaun James, who last week made it clear that due to current rights deals with other networks, an Australian Netflix service just wouldn't cut the mustard. Mumbrella's Nic Christensen captured the quote at this year's ASTRA conference:

Shaun James, director of Presto and video on demand at Foxtel, said Netflix has "phenomenal brand awareness in this market" admitting "we have got in terms of raising Presto's brand awareness". But he added: "It will be an inferior local service because of the rights that currently sit with Seven, Nine, Ten, ABC, Foxtel and, you know, they have looked at this market and they've seen that."

Now it's fair to say James has a decent idea of what Netflix needs to do to enter our market, but on the flip-side, I'm sure Netflix wouldn't launch here with a half-arsed product. We've talked about the barriers the service faces, with a feasible option being snapping up an established player to ease the pain of licensing hell.

But, as it stands, Netflix isn't here, so we'll just have to be happy with being teased constantly about the possibility. Yay.


WATCH MORE: Entertainment News


    VPN's are not illegal! Exercise your rights as a consumer and vote with your wallet. There is not a single legitimate (IMHO) reason why Australians shouldn't be signing up to Netflix proper (US version) and get full access to the latest content.

      I completely agree, however the "average" user doesn't always realise this is an option

        I think this is why forums like Giz are so darn important! People have a choice! It takes 5 minutes to setup a VPN it take days or weeks for a Foxtel rep to come and install a box to your home!

          You don't even need a VPN for Netflix... the free proxy apps like Hola work just fine. Just install the browser add-on/plug-in from the Hola website...

            There is always the DNS Re-Routing Services such as "GetFlix".

            You can change the DNS server on your Router/Modem to theirs they will make sure all of your US Traffic get's through and all your Local Traffic stays local.

            Running a VPN/Proxy is all Client based but if you have many users in a home it becomes irritating so using something that does it before the Traffic even hit's your LAN makes more sense for me.

            Last edited 08/09/14 8:33 am

              I'm going to go with this model. Use my chromecast and watch it on a nice display.

            It does the job however the convenience of being able to use your Xbox/Playstation or even Chromecast for Netflix makes setting up a DNS/VPN, and paying for it, absolutely worth it.

        I personally do my duty and tell everyone I can about netflix and how to set it up. I've gotten more than a few people onto netflix now. Down with Foxtel!

        VPN apps have recently made it really simple for average users to set up their location as a different country. It's only a matter of tapping twice on the mobile app for me when I'm using Tunnelbear or some other VPN service.

        And on computers/other devices it is no different either. There's so many simple guides available with a simple google search:

      One amendment based on my recent usage though.

      Make sure your VPN can change countries, there's so much Netflix content unavailable to even the US, UK and Finland have some amazing selections especially but almost every region has some little nuggets you can't get elsewhere.

      My reason is that my internet is too slow and has too small a download cap.

        Thats fair enough, but if you were to delete Foxtel costs from your average monthly bill then you could perhaps get a better internet deal?

          Maybe they don't have Foxtel?

            which brings us back to the issue with our current government denying everyone the right to decent broadband connection - NBN.

            Last edited 08/09/14 9:41 am

              I just wish they would make up their mind and actually do something about it rather than arguing over who does what and then delaying it so they can take even more time than promised.

              The gaming consoles out now are horrible to play online because of our upload speed. A good portion of US players must think Australians are pretty bad on online games on console because we can't send the information fast enough back to them, so naturally they just win without much effort.

              But the fact that the 'powers that be' seem to constantly be sabotaging each other's best efforts, nothing will come out of the fact. As it is it's months more wait, if they even implement it by then.

          Probably not, good chance those with small quota are on Telstra's vision of broadband - all wireless. Thanks to the death of the NBN.

      For the average Joe punter, using a VPN is too difficult, especially if they want to do it on a set top box which may require using special codes (undocumented in the manual of course) to switch away form Australia, and in many cases will require a windows PC to share the VPN or a separate router.

      Using netflix via US is something only geeks like us will do. Most people will just go to either Foxtel or BitTorrent because it's easier.

        Geeks, and people with geek friends. I've set up Netflix for 4 of my friends so far. Usually out of the blue, if we're having a drink and a chat, they ask me to set it up, and it's done before my glass is even empty :)

          *High Five* yep i do the same. I ask for a coffee, buy the time is cool enough to drink BOOM it's done.

      While I agree with you, there is "technically" this thing called "terms of use"

      Netflix Terms of Use:
      Section 6c. "You may view a movie or TV show through the Netflix service only in geographic locations where we offer our service and have licensed such movie or TV show. "

      I think that's your legitimate reason right there. Obviously this is to appease license holders and hungry Hollywood fat cats but the point still stands.

        Relax @inquisitorsz...

        Key points.

        1. Nobody in Australia has been charged for using a VPN, as it's similar to having a post box in another country. Or purchasing goods off ebay in another country. The laws on international media ownership are wooooofully outdated and do not reflect the current media landscape.

        2. More importantly? Why would Netflix kick paying users off there own service? Policing this would be cost money and cut profits. Thats crazy talk for a corporate that relies on growth strategies to compete with other streaming services. IMHO

        If you think violating T&C will get you a letter from any authority? I can't really see that happening and I personally think it's more than alarmist to say so. People have lots of things in life to worry about paying for Netflix isn't one of them.


          Like I said. I completely agree that the terms of use mean nothing and Netflix could stop us signing up with Australian addresses and credit cards but it doesn't.

          I was just pointing out that "technically" there is a "legitimate reason".

    Why isn't the ACCC involved here? Clearly, there are monopolistic business practices going on, with Foxtel, Nine, Ten, ABC and so on - doing their best to restrict viewer access to content. This is anti-competitive and monopolistic behaviour, exactly what the ACCC is supposed to prevent.

      They are to busy looking into petrol prices for the 1000th time to find out what they already know. It's frustrating ACCC only gets pointed in the direction which lobbyists want it to act or where there is no problem which can actually be solved. As a tool for consumers it is poorly utilised.

      No different to the dualopoly shared between Coles and Safeway.

      The ACCC is a toothless tiger. And will never be able to do something about.

      Instead its up to us consumers. And I say where possible shop online. Until the rights holders and more importantly the local distributors here are brought to their knees the sooner something can be done.

      The ACCC approved the sale of Austar to Foxtel so they are certainly involved here ;)

      You just listed several companies there. Not a monopoly.

      So there are 7 local TV broadcasters fighting over rights to particular shows and it's a monopoly?

        Copyright is a monopoly. It assigns monopoly rights to control the distribution and reproduction media for a defined time period (which thanks to the Mickey Mouse Protection Act extends for an unreasonably long time). The broadcasters are fighting over the monopoly rights for particular shows in Australia. In purchasing those rights, the copyright owner guarantees the broadcaster a monopoly in that no one else will be able to compete with it to distribute or reproduce the content for Australian audiences within defined time limits. In a true free market, consumers would be able to chose between a number of different competing distribution channels, formats and technologies.

    Foxtel sucks in comparison to almost any content provider. Limited channels which are way too expensive. Murdock owns the Government.

    Netflix is far superior to anything Foxtel will ever supply. Foxtel only ever give you a subset of their shows on presto, and they cram the experience full of ads and promos.

    On one hand we have the media distribution companies like Foxtel, Nine, Ten etc saying people steal content and should be punished. Then they turn around and essentially say "your service will fail because we locked up content which users want through monopolistic behaviour".

    Have a guess in who's pocket the government is.

    The sooner Murdoch retires the better.

      The sooner Murdoch retires the better.

      Yeah, sure. Expect the problem to go away when the scape goat retires instead of looking at the cause itself.

      The industry is the problem. Take out Murdoch and even News Corp and the problem will actually remain because News Corp and by extension Murdoch is only one participant in this flawed industry.

      Have a guess in who's pocket the government is.

      Nobody's. That's what makes the problem worse.

      Last edited 07/09/14 12:45 pm

        Best comment I've read for a long time, thank you for seeing the bigger picture clearly as opposed to jumping on the 'hate Murdock for everything wrong with TV in this country ' band wagon. Not seeing the big picture is Ludicrously ignorant.

    foxtel, please explain how your VOD services will be more successful to a services that is the second biggest streaming service in Australia and yet has not official launched here. You have way to many yes men telling you lies.

    Last edited 07/09/14 12:42 pm

      Because if Netflix were to actually launch here as an Australian product it would fucking suck because Foxtel, 10, 9, 7, ABC, SBS own the right to any content that Netflix could possibly provide making the service pointless.

        Yeah same as other places Netflix has launched... I'm fairly sure a lot of UK users still vpn to US netflix because of content not available on their local version.

    People still give money to Foxtel? I know it's a hard for Aussies who love their sport, to not subscribe to the service, to essentially get the coverage that we used to get for free from the broadcasters...

    Hey, remember when they used to broadcast the cricket all night - for free!

    Last edited 07/09/14 12:40 pm

    Plus Presto looks like it's just movies and not TV shows.

    'Aussie Netflix Would Be 'Inferior' To Foxtel's Presto'... According To Foxtel.
    "We should know," they added. "We just finished signing the deals to make sure it's sabotaged good and proper."

    We just need a streaming provider with enough purchasing power to take on the likes of Foxtel, which Netflix certainly seems able to provide if they are serious about entering the market. All it will take is a few high profile exclusives to change the dynamics in this country dramatically - imagine sole broadcasting rights in Australia to (for example) Game of Thrones going to Netflix.

      I don't think Netflix could ever get sole broadcasting rights to Game of Thrones. HBO is already in a partnership with Foxtel and Netflix is obviously a key competitor for them in the states.

      What we need is the Government and WTO to act in the best interest of consumers to enshrine parallel importation into law and make geo-blocking illegal under international treaties. That way foreign services could compete.

    Two words.


    Until you have this, GTFO Foxtel.

      They have HD - it's on cable and satelite boxes because the costs for data centre transmission in Australia are HUGE.

      I'm not saying it's right, but that's the decision foxtel have made anyway. Having said that, the pay TV companies anywhere else in the world don't give you HD on your tablet/PC/smartphone either.

      Worldwide HD seems to be a premium option reserved for the set top box.

      Last edited 08/09/14 11:58 am

        You know why the costs are huge? Telstra. You know who owns 50% of Foxtel? Surely if anyone can do it it's foxtel.

        You also can't compare this to TV companies tablet/PC/Smartphone companions that are usually a free part of your package. This is a stand alone pay product, so should be compared to stand alone paid products. I don't need foxtel for presto, and if I pay for foxtel I don't get presto.

        Also it's a joke they charge $10 a month extra for HD in 2014 via satellite, for highly compressed crap full of yelling adverts just like free to air TV.

        Last edited 08/09/14 12:10 pm

          It's the same everywhere else though. I'd love to see a link where people reckon comcast etc in the states are a lot cheaper than foxtel, because the last price i saw including HBO was $135 a month and whilst that does include internet access, so will foxtel sometime next year.

          Before anyone screams "netflix has hd" at me, yeah so does quickflix and google play and itunes - just because you don't like the selection or business model doesn't make the picture any else defined.

          If you can't afford any of that then a proxy or VPN setup in your utorrent costs $3-5 a month.

            So back to my point, their service is worthless as it doesn't even offer HD. As you said, it doesn't even compete with other Australian offerings. Personally I'll stick with Netflix and Hulu, although next year, I'll be cancelling Hulu for US summer holidays, nothing worth watching for a good 3 months.

    I've had Netflix for ages and it's pretty good. I also have Foxtel - mostly for the sport. I'm trying to find ways to reduce my Foxtel package and still get to see what I want but it is hard to do legally because of course the content providers don't actually want to provide content (confused the hell out of me).

    I got a 30-day trial of Presto just to check it out. Firstly, the content is not as good as Netflix. They only seem to have old films and no TV shows. If you want more recent films, you hand over more cash. Netflix 1-0 Presto.

    Secondly, they don't stream in HD and yes it is noticable. Netflix 2-0 Presto.

    Thirdly, when you start streaming, it takes up to 10 seconds to actually start showing the movie. Sure, 10 seconds isn't al lifetime but Netflix will startup in 2-3 seconds typically. Netflix 3-0 Presto.

    Lastly, Netflix is an upstart who is trying to push the old school into getting into the 21st century, where Presto is following a long way back and instead of innovating, they are trying to throw spanners at Netflix. Much like the rest of the TV / movie industry. Netflix 4-0 Presto.

    No contest. Presto cancelled.

    I watched foxtel tonight with mum. She's on the basic package. I wasn't impressed with the line up dull shows in the least. ok if You're a sports fanatic I suppose.

      The only reason why I have is the A-League. Otherwise useless.

    The Foxtel argument does not take into account all the Netflix original content. Maybe if Foxtel produced content instead of trying to get into deals blocking access, they might have subscribers.

    Don't forget Hulu, and the US networks' own websites for content. They give you the latest they have on TV within a day of broadcasting in the US. Hulu also has original programming. Plus you can binge watch on your time for these TV shows.

    Hulu has some US-centric ads, but they vary in 15 second blocks for no more than 90 seconds (they vary the amount of ads shown). This is fine when you think that you're getting these shows on your terms. Hola Unblocker is so simple to use to make this work.

    I still can't get over the fact that Foxtel are in bed with Samsung to the point where their app only works on Samsung phones (and iphones).

    C'mon foxtel - even quickflix as a android app that works on ANY device.

    Currently quickflix is where my money goes, and it's improving all the time. If foxtel go is finally released android-wide, i'll jump ship from quickflix/netflix but not until.

      C'mon foxtel - even quickflix as a android app that works on ANY device.
      This is the key element to the success of any digital distribution business model. If it can't be viewed on the particular device that a consumer owns (all of which generally implement open standards - I'm looking at you Apple) then they won't subscribe and will use a more flexible distribution channel that meets their requirements (eg bit-torrent). Any service that limits availability to a particular app, device or restrictive DRM simply won't survive.

    Because of rights that exist with 7 nine and ten? Are you kidding me whats the last half decent show that any of those channels have produced that would be genuinely missed.

    I have been streaming netflix for about 3 months now and look forwarding to completely avoiding this years xfactor or big brother or any of the other locally produced garbage. And i am referring to pretty much all Aussie reality TV shows.

    And guess how much it costs $12 per month

      Haha exactly ! I couldnt care if Netflix didnt get rights to the block or big brother

      You are missing the point. The local broadcasters have existing deals in place with overseas studios to buy their content (eg the last 50 seasons of Big Bang Theory and every Harry Potter movie ever made). If Netflix starts out here, they can't show Big Bang or Harry Potter because Nine/Foxtel/Seven etc already have the rights. Sure they will eventually be able to outbid the locals, but some of these rights agreements don't expire for years. In the meantime they would have to show reruns of Friends.

        This is one of the reasons why you can't buy recent seasons of The Simpsons on DVD or BluRay. Existing licensing the exclusive rights locked up for 10 years after the initial broadcast, with Channel 10 holding these rights in Australia. For this reason the most recent season you can buy on DVD is Season 16 (Season 20 is the odd one out).

    Why wouldn't you use Netflix? More content than Foxtel for less money and on-demand. I don't really care what they have to say. Netflix is going to thrive when they touch down in Australia... I just don't want to pay for it with Aus$. It will be way more expensive than it is currently.

      i did try netflix, but it wouldnt stream in HD so i choose alternative means, and it sure as hell isnt Foxtel!

    Hulu + Netflix + = go f&$k yourself Foxtel. The content creators are making money, just not you parasitic middle men.

    Hulu Plus, Netflix and unotelly for 12 months costs the same as 1 month on Foxtel's ultimate package. Enjoy playing the fiddle as Rome burns Foxtel!

    Netflix currently has a market capitalisation of greater than 20B (USD); it could buy what it wants to win that market share. The big fish always eat the small fish.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now