Where will Presto’s subscribers go?
Foxtel hopes to convert Presto subscribers to Play, but what chance does it realistically have?
When Foxtel announced last week that it was buying out partner Seven West and shuttering its Presto streaming service as of next January, it wasn’t entirely surprising news. Australia as a streaming market was always going to struggle with three widescale streaming providers, and it was generally an even bet as to whether the Foxtel-backed Presto or Fairfax-backed Stan would blink first.
Presto’s on the chopping block, but what happens to its subscriber base once that happens? To predict that, we’d need some numbers about how many customers Presto actually has. Presto itself doesn’t provide those precise figures, but the latest Roy Morgan research figures suggest that Presto’s subscribers in Australia number around 143,000 Australian homes. That’s a pretty tasty number of customers for Foxtel to try to entice over to a more expensive Foxtel Play (now known as Foxtel Now) subscription, presuming that they’re not already also allied to another streaming service already.
Therein lies the rub, however, as Roy Morgan’s figures also suggest that of those 134,000 homes, some 110,000 already have some other form of subscription TV service, including Netflix, Stan or Presto parent Foxtel. Drilling down, more than half (55%) of Presto subscribers are already Netflix subscribers, while 27% are Stan subscribers. Nearly half of Presto’s subscriber base are already traditional Foxtel subscribers, with 48% using a Foxtel set top box to provide the same kinds of services Foxtel Play offers.
That leaves only 33,000 Presto-only subscribers who would presumably be shifting to another streaming provider. Roy Morgan’s research suggests that the Presto audience is surprisingly mixed; while Foxtel’s audience skews older and Netflix/Stan both have more subscribers in the younger demographics, Presto’s a bit more of a combination of both approaches, with something of a focus on young families than the other streaming-only providers.
The figures are interesting on a number of levels. Clearly Presto’s subscriber base isn’t overly fussed with paying for multiple services, at least at the usual $10-$15 price point. That may extend out to Foxtel, although how many of the Presto-only subscribers will jump up to the $25+ tiers that Foxtel Play will offer is a harder issue to predict. Clearly some Presto subscribers are also existing Foxtel customers, although some of those may be premium customers who often got Presto as a "free" offering alongside their existing Foxtel packages.
Presto tended to differentiate itself on its movie offerings as distinct from the more TV-centric and exclusive fare of Netflix and Stan, and that’s something of a strength for Foxtel as well, especially as Netflix continues to focus strongly on its "originals" programming such as the recently released Luke Cage. That might be enough to lure undecided Presto-only subscribers over to Foxtel Play when the shift happens early next year.