Seven sales boss: Australian market only big enough for two streaming players

Kurt Burnette


The sales boss of Seven West Media believes the Australian streaming video on demand (SVOD) market is only big enough to sustain two services, describing it as a “dynamic game of attrition”.

Chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette told Mumbrella he believes the streaming market, which currently includes Foxtel and Seven West Media’s joint venture Presto, Fairfax Media and Nine’s Entertainment Co’s Stan, struggling Quickflix, and the forthcoming entrance of US giant Netflix, would eventually be whittled down to just “two serious players”.

But he would not be drawn on who would be left standing, but said he was confident in the partnership between Seven and Foxtel over Presto which launched officially a fortnight ago and is due to undergo an overhaul in the coming months.

The chief revenue officer said: “There are going to be some exciting developments over the next few months about the iteration of Presto – the look, the feel, the content of the product – it is going to be a very dynamic game of attrition.”

Burnette said he believed that SVOD would eventually be a significant revenue stream for the TV network, but added they were being cautious not to cannibalise their existing free-to-air audiences. “Eventually (SVOD) will be a strong revenue stream,” he said. “The partnership we have put together with Foxtel is a very smart and strong business plan for the future.

“We are very confident it will do what we hoped over time. It will take time. Viewing habits are changing but they are probably not changing as fast as people might think.

“Cannibalisation is obviously something we consider, but free-to-air in Australia is in a really strong place. Some people are going to choose to want to subscribe to movies, to TV series regardless of what we do so our aim is to be in it.”

Burnette said that while the market for SVOD would grow in the coming years there would still be a place for key TV franchises and live sporting events such as the Australian Open, which drew 1.783m to Channel Seven last night for the Kyrgios vs Murray quarter final. 

“At the end of the day there will still only be one place to come to watch My Kitchen Rules, there will be still only be one place to see Djokovic or a Kyrgios match, and those content moments will continue to spike and deliver Australians at scale,” he said.

“But there is also a significant place for bingeing and snacking (on content) and so what that will end up looking like is hard to say.

“We have clear plans for both of them. They will both have successful places in the Australian media.”

Rivals Stan and Netflix both declined to comment on Burnette’s remarks, but the declaration comes on the same day that Stan announced an exclusive deal with Village Roadshow for the SVOD rights to the distributor’s latest films in 2015.

Titles include some of 2014’s biggest films such as: The Lego Movie and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 1 and The Wolf of Wall Street.

“As Australia’s largest independent film distributor, Roadshow has a history of bringing incredible films to Australian audiences. We’re proud to add so many of these celebrated and much loved movies to Stan’s lineup,” said Mike Sneesby, CEO of Stan.

Nic Christensen

Disclaimer: The Seven Network is currently advertising on Mumbrella.  


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