Presto boss: Streaming players have moved beyond ‘yell and sell’ to a brand building stage

The boss of video streaming service Presto has told a forum that video streaming players Presto, Stan and Netflix have moved beyond a retail “yell and sell” approach to a new brand building stage.

L-R: Kylie Merritt, Shaun James and Eric Kearney on stage at ASTRA 2015 Conference

L-R: Kylie Merritt, Shaun James and Eric Kearney on stage at ASTRA 2015 Conference

Shaun James, speaking at the ASTRA 2015 conference yesterday, also dismissed criticism of the SVOD service for folding its low margin subscriber numbers in with premium pay-TV service Foxtel, claiming numbers for the service are “irrelevant”.

He told the audience he was focused on differentiating his product from giant Netflix with its new “Demand More” ad campaign, fronted by Naomi Watts.

“If you go back and look at the marketing for the first six months of this year a lot of the marketing from a lot of the services was done on the fly,” said James. “There was a lot of brand building – retail ‘yell and sell’ – and in our minds one of the things we knew was that Presto really didn’t stand for anything. 

“I have always worked in businesses that have been very brand centric and we feel the same way about Presto.”

James noted the June appointment of TBWA Whybin and said the idea for the campaign came from the opportunity to stand up to Netflix, a subject he described as the “elephant in the room”.

“We went through a lengthy process of a creative agency pitch of landing a really solid idea. The basis of the (Naomi Watts) campaign is that when we looked around the globe no one had stood up to the elephant in the room which is Netflix.

“It is a fantastic product, has been developed over a number of years, and has a fantastic R&D budget and development budget. But it doesn’t mean they should have the market on their own.

“We think we have a strong service and a really good product in terms of the technology piece, so the ‘Demand More’ campaign is about taking that up. Presto is in a conversation where consumers are talking about on demand but no one has really owned the terms around that space.

“There is a opportunity for us.”

Asked about the shift in rival Stan’s marketing away from comedienne Rebel Wilson, James was reluctant to be drawn but said: “It is a derivation of what they have done from the outset but ours is a big left turn in terms of what we have done, and there is more to play out.”

James also took aim at an analysis piece on Mumbrella yesterday which criticised Foxtel’s decision to begin including Presto subscribers within its overall subscriber base without breaking down the individual paying SVOD subscribers.

“I saw some commentary from Mumbrella today demanding people release numbers. Well, numbers are irrelevant unless you are putting advertising on the service and we are not,” he said.

Fellow panellist Eric Kearley also told the room that Telstra was on track to launch its Telstra TV streaming service which would launch “roughly” in about October.

Asked for his overall observations about the broader market James noted: “We have learnt a lot in the last 12 months. We think we have developed a really solid product, we have seen the race for content acquisition accelerate in terms of speed to market and pricing.

“We are seeing a really competitive space at the moment. You have three SVOD players really pushing hard from an acquisition point of view and from that basis it is terrifically exciting.

“It is changing monthly, weekly and even daily.”

Nic Christensen 

Related content: Presto, Stan, Quickflix: You need to come clean on your numbers before it’s too late


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