Over the past three months we have seen the online streaming market heating up with the entrance of a new rival, Netflix. My recent article about online streaming services delved into the amount of subscribers and the different ratings that each service has received in relation to price vs content variety and quality. Hopefully you'll find that it offered a comprehensive overview to help you choose which service best suits your own personal needs. Thus, to finish off the topic around the comparison of these services, I thought that one useful metric which I hadn't included in my initial article was a look at who refreshes their content the most.
If you haven’t already subscribed to any online streaming services then with my three comparison articles to read through, you should have all the information you need to make an informed and objective decision. Whilst the amount of video content is very important in ensuring a subscription offers good value for money, that content also needs to be refreshed in order to remain engaging to subscribers. You might be happy to watch ‘Friends’ over and over again, but may not feel the same way about ‘Breaking Bad’ for example. So, how do the likes of Foxtel, Netflix, Stan and Presto fair as far a regular content updates are concerned?
You mat remember from my recent article (mentioned above) about the various online streaming providers, that Presto costs $9.99 per month and for that you have access to roughly 1,200 titles. Presto claims to not have strict guidelines on refreshing or removing content from its service. It only adheres to the individual licences it has with each individual piece of content. They like to analyse demand for content on their service to better determine which new footage would be most welcomed by subscribers.
Presto's official comment regarding content updates was that they make the call to change the mix "based on demand of our subscribers as well as our in-house curating, which influences our programming priorities.”
If you are wondering why I haven’t mentioned Quickflix in this line up then know this: Quickflix’s new partnership with Presto has meant that Presto will now take over the streaming services for the Quickflix. This has been done with the aim to improve Quickflix’s sub-standard streaming service.
Stan is pretty much the same price as Presto, costing $10 per month, and offers only slightly more titles sitting at 1,250. Nick Forward, Stan’s Content and Product Director when questioned about the company's content refreshing cycle, didn’t give an exact answer, but rather a very loose definition. Notable points that I took from his comments were:
“The vast majority of the content we have is on long term licenses, including Stan’s first-run shows such as Better Call Saul and Transparent. Our first run shows will remain on the platform for a minimum of 24-months.”
“In the past month alone we have announced deals with Starz for Power, Ash vs Evil Dead, Flesh and Bone and A&E.”
Compared to other content directors, Nick Forward does provide more solidarity around his content though. His statement about the first shows running for least 24-months should give customers confidence that their favourites won’t be disappearing any time soon. Besides this, his confirmation of what new shows they've secured this week is also reassuring.
Foxtel Play costs $25 to $50 per month depending on the services you select and this gives you access to 3,250 titles. Foxtel Play does differ from its competitors as far as its close affiliation with the broadcast parent Foxtel is concerned. The company when questioned was very reluctant to give figures on content refresh rates, like all the rest. What a representative did say was this:
“There are catch up and anytime (on demand) programs available under Foxtel Play as part of its broadcast license as well as a selection of library content through Foxtel box-sets; however, the availability of programming is also subject to differing licensing agreements, so there isn’t a specific refresh and rest cycle for on demand.”
I had a look at Foxtel Play's service over the course of a week and it was clear to see that the company is updating its content daily and in some cases hourly with its catch up content. Evidence of this same content refreshing was not as prominent as with other service providers, but then again other streaming services don’t charge as much as Foxtel Play do either.
Netflix charges $8.99 for its standard definition package which gives access to one user and for that you now have access to over 5,000 titles a much larger amount compared to the current competition. The service provider is known to send emails to subscribers about new content that has arrived, but that’s as far as it goes. Roy Morgan Research recently conducted a report around all of the Australian online streaming services and found that Netflix has 1.3 million subscribers. Presto the runner up only had 97,000.
These statistics alone show the need for Netflix to continue offering its subscribers new content whilst also demonstrating the negotiating power the company has to secure said content. The only reassurance Netflix provided was that it would not be eliminating any content in the near future, only continuously adding to it.
Deriving a solid fact about which provider refreshes their content the most is difficult. There is no clear-cut winner with regards to refresh rates, but it is clear to see that Foxtel Play updates their library most regularly and rightly so when they charge double or quadruple the price.
Ultimately, Netflix has the largest library and the most subscribers to date and they have stated that they will not be removing their content anytime soon, only adding to it. Therefore if you wanted to base your decision on content refresh rates and content availability, Netflix beats the rest purely down to having more content available and thus providing better value for money. Its sheer bargaining power in this market also gives it a big advantage over competitors too.
If you are still undecided on which online streaming service is right for you check out these Buckscoop articles for more in-depth information: