Answering Kayo Sports’ three biggest questions
Is Kayo part of Foxtel? Will the Kayo app suffer Foxtel's app issues? And what does Kayo beta actually mean? We've heard the feedback and we've got the answers in our Kayo FAQ.
Just over a week ago, the Kayo live sports streaming service launched. Dubbed the "Netflix for sport" it's nothing short of an evolution in the way sports are broadcast not only here in Australia, but also around the world. A disrupter that is a genuine step forward into the future of how we will consume our beloved sports content.
In a nutshell, Kayo allows users to browse live broadcasts from approximately 50 different sports and instantly watch whatever they want on almost any device. There's on-demand content and general programming, too, including discussion panels and entertainment shows.
Best of all are the sports-centric features that bring game day to life. Picture-in-a-picture mode; the ability to split the screen four ways and stream four sports at once; jump to start, hide scores; highlight moments; choose your own camera view and more are either already available or coming soon. All for $25 a month.
Following on from our live hands-on review of the Kayo Sports streaming experience, we got a lot of feedback from sports fans about the service. While for the most part there seems to be genuine positivity around what Kayo is attempting to deliver, there were three questions, or perhaps misconceptions, that kept arising. Let's jump in to the Finder Kayo FAQ…
Is Kayo a Foxtel product? Answered
Kayo offers an almost identical suite of live sport and programming to Foxtel Now, Foxtel Go and Foxtel IQ. On Kayo you will find all the FOX SPORTS channels, the two EPSN channels and three beIN channels. All that is missing is the Liverpool, Chelsea and Manchester United Premier League club channels, Eurosport and Sky Racing.
However, Kayo is not a Foxtel product. It's confusing, no doubt. Kayo is a service built by a separate company within the broader organisation that includes Foxtel and Telstra. Think of it like Kmart and Target - they sell much of the same product and are effectively competing against each other, but both are owned by the same organisation in Wesfarmers.
Moving back to streaming TV, despite operating in the same space and targeting an overlapping audience to Foxtel, Kayo Sports is not the same company. However, the new streaming sports app has – effectively by default – access to the broadcasting rights acquired by its sister company.
Will the Kayo app suffer Foxtel app issues? Answered.
At the risk of sticking the boot in, the fact is many people (not all) have had significant issues with Foxtel apps in the past. Foxtel Now and Foxtel Play have been plagued by crashes and freezes, while Presto was lynched altogether. Much of the negative feedback we have seen around the launch of Kayo seems to have stemmed from a fear that such issues will migrate across to Kayo.
However, as discussed above, Kayo and Foxtel are different companies. They're working on a separate technology. In fact, Kayo may even be seen as an opportunity to wipe the slate clean and build again from the ground up.
While that doesn't necessarily exclude Kayo from having crashes and other issues in its future, if these occur, it won't be because they're legacy issues migrating across from the Foxtel family of apps.
Taking an innocent until proven guilty approach, Kayo should be approached open-minded in this respect. However, we will be watching very closely through 2019 to make sure that the service can withstand the viewer demand of a big NRL or AFL match, and do so on a 4G network.
What does the beta mean in Kayo Beta? Answered.
While a term commonly used in the technology world with respect to software, in particular games, the notion of a "beta" is foreign to many mainstream Australians. That has been made clear by some of the feedback we have been receiving and seeing around the Kayo launch. It's important you understand what a beta is.
The use of the word beta alongside the launch of Kayo indicates that it isn't really a "launch" at all. It's effectively a test version of the final product, released with a suitable number of features in order for the creators to monitor server load and listen to user feedback.
By using the word "beta," a company is effectively saying to the users of its product, "we need your help finding bugs, breaking the software so we can fix it and letting us know what needs to improve." As in, don't judge us yet as this is not our final product.
Kayo, however, does muddy the waters of what a beta would traditionally be by charging $25 a month for Kayo Basic and $35 for Kayo Premium. At those prices consumers have a right to expect a finished product.
Plus, it instils a fear – one we have picked up in feedback to our articles – that the price will go up once the beta finishes. A fear heightened by the previously mentioned assumption that many sports fans think Kayo is a Foxtel product – a premium service charged out at a premium cost.
Thankfully, as you can see in the live demo at the top of this story, Kayo is very close to a final product. Most of the touted features are in play, and the vast bulk of the content is available. Since Kayo is not Foxtel, there is also no specific pressure to balance the ledger - so to speak - with anything happening with its sister company. This should offer some comfort to those worried about the price going up after the beta.
From what we've experienced thus far, we're happy to recommend Kayo to sports fans in Australia, even though it's a significant price for beta software. Why? It's still the best bang for buck and its sports-centric features are more than gimmicks, their godsends. Which leaves us with only one question…
When will Kayo come out of beta?
It is out of beta! Hooray! The beta was actually quite short, and on November 26 the full Kayo Sports streaming service launched.