View Finder: Now is the winter of Foxtel’s new content

Nick Broughall 28 April 2017 NEWS

tick date

Plus piracy and sports streaming, and Amazon is pretty Ticked.

The news broke earlier this week that Foxtel is planning on rebranding its Foxtel Play service as Foxtel Now alongside the release of a new Foxtel streaming puck to rival the likes of the Fetch TV Mini and Telstra TV.

While the news is still technically in the unconfirmed pile, if true, it would allow a significant opportunity for the streaming platform. One of Foxtel Play's biggest advantages over the cable or satellite version is the fact that there's no need for expensive hardware installation to get started, though the device compatibility list for the Play service is relatively short.

Telstra and Optus have both seen significant success in the entertainment space by launching streaming devices to rival Apple TV. Telstra reported in its 2017 mid-year results that it had sold 622,000 Telstra TV units, while the Fetch TV Mini was a major component of Optus's EPL delivery strategy.

Foxtel Play (or, if the rebranding happens, Foxtel Now) is a significantly better investment following the price restructure late last year, but it still faces some challenges in terms of compatible devices. Specifically, if you like your entertainment in a definition that's higher than "standard", your only option is to get a Telstra TV, and even then it's only a 720p stream.

Part of the problem is hardware limitations, which is something that hopefully Foxtel's new streaming puck could improve for Foxtel Play. Given the impressive catalogue of content on offer from Foxtel, plus the ongoing trend of higher resolutions for streaming services – Netflix, Stan and Amazon all have a 4K option now – the shift to Foxtel Now could potentially see real HD arrive for the pay TV platform, which would be an incredible step up for the service.

Social media not to blame for dropping sports viewership

A growing trend internationally seems to be the decline of live sports viewing. And while some of the blame has been placed at the feet of social media platforms and millennials who watch highlights online, a new study says that piracy is a much bigger threat.

SMG Insight research for the BT Sport Industry Awards study found that only 2% of millennials prefer to watch sports highlights online on social media. But 54% admitted to having watched pirated sports streams.

Without descending into the ongoing piracy debate, it's worth noting that sports broadcasts in Australia are generally compromised in some way when it comes to watching them online. As mentioned above, HD isn't readily available through Foxtel Play, while sports like the EPL require you to switch your phone or broadband service to Optus in order to be able to legally access it.

These speed bumps make sense for businesses looking to leverage sports as a conversion metric, but for younger audiences who were raised on a diet of immediate access to anything, they're easily bypassed.

Trailer of the week: Amazon Prime gets Tick of approval

It was the superhero of last year's Amazon Prime Video pilot season and finally, the reboot of The Tick has been given a season premiere date and a new trailer.

Fans of the big, blue hero will be happy to know that the show will be available on Amazon Prime Video on 25 August. We're not sure yet as to whether that date is global or if Amazon will continue its trend of delaying the Australian availability of its shows.

Each week, View Finder rounds up the latest news in TV and movie streaming in Australia.

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