Can StreamCo turn the tide on Netflix?

By Adam Turner

Up to 200,000 Australians pay to sneak into the US Netflix service each month – more customers than Quickflix and Presto combined – and the streaming giant is rumoured to be opening its doors in Australia next year.

Nine and Fairfax can leverage the content already available via their free Catch Up TV services – recent programming and Australian content which you won't find on Quickflix or Netflix yet.

Into this fight walks StreamCo – Nine Entertainment's long-promised streaming video service which has finally found a partner in Fairfax Media and is set to launch next year.

Even the fledgling all-you-can-eat subscription video market is taking shape, with Foxtel's Presto joining Quickflix this year as an Australian competitor to international giants such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Instant Video.

Instead StreamCo should focus its efforts on tapping the vast reserve of mainstream Australians who haven't yet embraced subscription video and would put sneaking into Netflix in the too hard basket.

Australians already watching Netflix will figure this out pretty quickly and stick with the US service – although Netflix coming to Australia will make it easier for Australians to sneak into the US service, as getting Netflix to take your money is harder than beating geo-blocking.

Presto and Quickflix prices dropped recently, as Netflix prices rose, but the US service still has the advantage when it comes to its range of titles and picture quality on media players like Google's Chromecast.

StreamCo could offer those five episodes for free, with a subscription unlocking access to every episode of this season along with all of season one – all from the convenience of one streaming video service.

Why should Australians hand over $10 per month to StreamCo when it launches next year, rather than handing over their money to Quickflix or an arm of Netflix?

The worst case scenario is that StreamCo becomes a disappointing also-ran, dragged down by mediocre content, overly-intrusive advertising, disappointing picture quality, crippling digital rights management and a general disdain for the viewers.

Read more here: Business Spectator

    

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