The Seven Network looks set to roll out a paid HD streaming service through its ‘7Plus’ app later this year.
It would be Seven’s first foray into paid TV subscriptions since streaming platform Presto was closed in early 2017.
The new service would sit under the ‘7Plus’ umbrella, which is currently free to use. 7Plus is a ‘catch up TV’ service, similar to that of ABC iView and SBS On-Demand. Users can access it via their smartphone, smart TV, computer and other multimedia devices and platforms, such as Fetch TV.
It’s reported that Seven will also expand its content partnerships with Warner Bros, Disney, Discovery and NBC Universal. This could mean increased content from the US as well as sports coverage through the NBC network.
Concrete release dates for the new streaming service are not yet confirmed, but a source from Seven West Media told Canstar Blue that it could coincide with the Commonwealth Games in late March.
The Commonwealth Games is already getting its own streaming app, also featuring a paid element.
“We have a Commonwealth Games App that users can download for free to catch the coverage of the Games. Further to this, we offer customers a Premium offering priced at $24.99… This offering provides users with additional content, HD viewing, less commercial content & they can watch on up to eight devices,” she said.
Seven will push the release of its Commonwealth Games app a week prior to the start of the Games on 26 March. It’s thought the Games app could be used as a ‘test run’ for the expanded 7Plus paid service.
— Clive Dickens (@clivedickens) February 20, 2018
Whatever happened to Presto?
Seven West Media sold its stake in Presto in late 2016 to joint venture partner Foxtel, but rather than keep Presto running, Foxtel decided to close it. Users were then encouraged to switch to Foxtel Play – now called Foxtel Now.
Presto was one of Australia’s first paid TV streaming services, released in late 2014. Netflix didn’t arrive in Australia until early 2015. With the arrival of Netflix, Presto also had to contend with Stan – the joint venture between Fairfax Media and Nine Entertainment Co – a hotly-contested field.
Presto was seemingly outdone on price and then later, content. Prices originally were $19.99 a month until the arrival of Netflix and Stan when Presto lowered its monthly charge to about $10.
Presto then separated its movies and TV libraries, meaning to get the whole library, users had to pay two monthly fees. Netflix and Stan, on the other hand, offered all content at one price.
Less than six months after launch, Presto Movies was reported to have only a few thousand subscribers, compared with more than a million Netflix subscribers.