Opinion

Netflix and Stan could end my long relationship with Foxtel

NEW PLAYER: Netflix became available to Australian audiences on Tuesday and is so far the most impressive service on the market.
NEW PLAYER: Netflix became available to Australian audiences on Tuesday and is so far the most impressive service on the market. Supplied

THE LAUNCH of the local version of Netflix on Tuesday now means Australians have more access to Streaming Video On Demand services than ever before.

SVOD is relatively new here, but the injection of Netflix to the local market has widespread ramifications both for the way we watch content, and how we pay.

While it is no secret Australians are notorious for illegally downloading content and for using programs to sidestep geoblocks (people have accessed Netflix for years despite not being available here), SVOD services will have a sizable impact on consumer behaviour.

My experience with Netflix and Stan so far have been so good it has forced me to revisit both my viewing habits and dedication to Foxtel.

Foxtel

I currently pay $90 per month to access Foxtel Play.

It gives me access to almost all content (it's only $5 more if I want to add the kids package), and the freedom to stream through several devices: PC, Xbox 360, and iPhone.

The hours I work plus time spent travelling means I rely heavily on the catchup service to watch shows like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead, Justified and The Flash, and occasionally dabble in the large film library.

The only problems I have are occasional lags caused by a wobbly internet connection, as well as the unavailability of some shows on catchup (as helpful as Foxtel is on Twitter I would love a webpage that had a catalogue of available programs).

That was until SVOD came along.

Stan

The main attraction for Stan was exclusive access to Better Call Saul episodes on the same day as the United States.

For any Breaking Bad fan it is a must, and for just $10 a month (with a free 30-day trial) is one of the most affordable SVOD services on the market.

Beyond BB and BCS, the library isn't too bad.

Every episode of the first five Justified seasons are available (the final season is airing on Foxtel), and the highly-rated Dig, Mozart in the Jungle and Community are all "first on Stan".

When you throw every episode of The 4400, Oz, Twin Peaks and The Shield, as well as a limited but expanding film library, you have a pretty solid service.

Netflix

The global SVOD superpower finally landed on Tuesday, and in the few hours I've had to play it is clear to see why Netflix is rated so highly.

When you first register it asks you to nominate three programs from the Netflix catalogue that best suit your taste, then throws up a bunch of suggestions from the huge library.

Those suggestions stay at the top of the pile, but after you start watching content Netflix suggests more programs based on that selection.

It's a simple yet effective way to hook in the customer.

Netflix also comes with a 30-day free trial, but has three different pricing options based, again, on viewing habit.

Presto

I am yet to use Presto but between Foxtel, Stan and Netflix there isn't really anything left to attract me to it.

Pricing options revolve around whether you want movies, television, or both, which maxes at $14.99.

As I haven't used Presto I can't give it a fair verdict, but there is nothing currently on the service worth ditching the others for.

It may become a more affordable to Foxtel provided they get access to the same content.

Verdict

At this stage I'm yet to ditch Foxtel but I intend to reduce my subscription in the very near future.

It is simply too expensive for what I use it for, and as I barely watch programs when they air SVOD has become a much more viable alternative.

Stan and Netflix seem to cover almost all bases (and time).

Between the two I have an enormous amount of content in which I can fully immerse myself.

Netflix has a slight upper hand given the more user-oriented experience: while both have generic categories, Netflix builds suggestions based on viewing habits.

Access to a large number of good quality foreign films also tips the ledger in Netflix's favour.

Topics:  foxtel, netflix, opinion, presto, stan



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