Australians, all let us rejoice. For we are getting decent streaming services after an age of waiting. Netflix is coming, Presto is here, Stan is awesome. We’re being told that streaming will change our content consumption habits and our lives from 2015 onwards, and that’s probably true. But keep this one simple truth in mind: there is still no one service to rule them all.
Consumers are about to be bombarded by choice. The Streaming Wars will play out on bus shelters, TV screens and in newspapers around the country. Netflix, Foxtel (Presto) and Stan (StreamCo) will all vie for your streaming dollar.
Stan is offering exclusive content from the makers of Breaking Bad in Better Call Saul, as well as a slew of Australian offerings; Netflix will offer Aussie flavour in the form of shows like Mako Mermaids and Aussie comedy specials, as well as its own Original content, and Foxtel will leverage its incumbent partnerships to bring a massive range of movies to the fold.
Every service will have a unique offering. A piece of content or slew of films you won’t be able to get elsewhere, and that can lead to frustration: why can’t you get all your content from one service? The sad truth is that you can’t, and you never will be able to.
That kind of sucks when you think about it, but reframe the debate and view it this way: why does streaming have to be a zero sum game? As a famous Mexican scholar once said, por que no los dos?
So what if Stan has something Netflix doesn’t? Who cares if Netflix carries titles Presto doesn’t? I’d argue that by choosing all three, you’re doing yourself a much better service than you would figuring out which single service to go with.
By taking up Stan which is $10 per month, Presto which is also $10 per month and Netflix which should be in the realm of $10-$15 per month, you’ll only pay around $35 per month for more content than your eyes have room for.
And they’re all easy to access, too. Presto support Chromecast streaming to your TV, Netflix is on everything from Smart TVs to tablets and phones and Stan supports AirPlay. No matter what you choose, you’ll have a way of streaming content to your TV quickly and easily for a third of the price of a premium monthly Foxtel subscription which only lets you view content on their schedule.
Australia is finally living in the 21st Century when it comes to content: millions of titles on demand for a fraction of what we used to pay for Pay TV. Welcome to the future.
Disclosure: Stan is a 50/50 joint venture between Nine Entertainment and Fairfax Media. Allure Media, the company which publishes Gizmodo Australia, is also owned by Fairfax.