Presto is now a formal, official joint venture between Foxtel and Seven West Media — two of Australia's largest media companies. Each of the partners has a 50 per cent stake in the service, and they're planning to use their considerable marketing might and the depth of their war chests to make a huge play. They want Presto to be the best streaming video on demand service in Australia, and they're not afraid to spend a bit of money to get there.
Unlike the single-tiered subscription that Stan and Netflix offer, Presto has two subscription offerings — Presto TV for $9.99 per month, Presto Movies for $9.99 per month, and Presto Entertainment for $14.99 per month with movies and TV bundled into one service. This model is similar to Foxtel's own Play video on demand service, which lets subscribers pick different packages a la a traditional Foxtel service. Presto is much closer to the Netflix method, though, in that it's one of two prices for all you can watch.
Here's the good news — when Presto officially commences as a joint venture, it will have a full 4443 episodes of on-demand television through 254 different TV shows, and 879 movies — over 5000 hours of video. That's effectively on par with Netflix Australia's circa-1100 titles and roughly 5000 hours, and not too far off Stan's reported 6000-plus hours and around 1250 titles.
Presto is, like Netflix, investing in first-run TV programming — it'll bring '60s cop drama Aquarius to Australia by the end of May and will be the first in the country to broadcast it under its "First on Presto" tagline. No announcements about local TV or movie production specifically for Presto have been announced yet, but with the traditional TV broadcasting history of both Foxtel and Seven West's various Channel Seven properties, it's not unlikely.
Foxtel's director of Presto and On Demand, Shaun James, will be Presto's interim CEO until a full management team is formed. He's bullish about Presto's potential: "We have an enviable library. We have the premium content. We have the upcoming first-run "only on Presto" programming that we’ll be unveiling over the coming weeks. We have great partners and we are committed to delivering the best consumer experience." And on more deals like Aquarius: “Our customers can expect similar announcements as we move forward." We can't wait. [Presto]
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.