Fetch TV has well and truly joined the big boys in the set-top box and video on demand space, says CEO Scott Lorson after a suite of announcements Wednesday night.
The subscription TV service has unveiled new content offerings including Presto coming on board, an updating of the set-top box and data offerings, and further distribution agreements with telcos.
“We’ve just joined the adults table at the party,” Lorson told B&T, adding the subscriber numbers have seen exponential growth over the past few years. The service is expecting to add 300,000 subscribers by the end of this year, having surpassed 400,000 subscribers in May.
“Yes we have a lot of initiatives that are about to hit, but even before they hit we’re currently experiencing unprecedented growth,” he said.
While Foxtel would arguably be one of Fetch TV’s biggest competitors in the marketplace, Lorson said the existing Foxtel customer base is not the Pay TV’s focus. “I appreciate it’s a comparison everyone likes to make…we’re going after the 6.5 million who don’t have Foxtel, it’s fair to say that us and Foxtel are competing for growth. We’re not competing for their existing customers, but we are competing for growth in the same market.
“We feel very comfortable in our value proposition in a comparative basis.”
In the content space, Presto – subscription video on demand service between Seven West Media and Foxtel – is now available on the platform, joining Stan, Netflix and YouTube. Viacom channel Spike is also now available on the platform, as is NineNow – a package of Nine’s catch-up-on-demand services.
Lorson however said Fetch TV has never been about exclusive content when asked whether the company would try and get the rights to air Game of Thrones from Foxtel.
“Today it’s about creating the broadest breadth and depth offering, but not forcing customers to pay the premiums they need to charge when it’s associated with exclusive content,” he said.
“As we approach a million subscribers, I think our content aspirations will evolve, both in terms of what we produce ourselves and what we purchase. But at this stage we’re very happy to license non-exclusive content and to partner with players like Netflix, Stan and Presto and others to provide different ways for customers to access great content.”
Fetch TV has also launched updated versions of its two set-top boxes and announced a mobile initiative expected to come in later this year. The companion apps for Fetch TV will also be updated.
Lorson said now was the right time to launch all the updates as the technology is where it needs to be to create a competitive offering. Data usage is a big concern among consumers and noting this, Lorson said the updated tech means consumers can watch more TV while using less data.
A mobile offering is on track too, noted Lorson, along with the companion apps users can already download on mobile devices. And within the mobile offering, Lorson said there will be a ‘download to watch later’ option – meaning consumers can download shows to watch on public transport for example without it eating into their data.
The future of Pay TV rests within the big telcos, said Lorson. And with this mindset, Fetch TV has renewed its bundle agreements with Optus and Dodo, as iiNet continues to sell the product.
Tech retail giant JB Hi Fi has also joined Harvey Norman in selling the products.
Fetch TV already has agreements with iiNet and Optus to bundle the Pay TV packages with broadband offerings, and Dodo has re-signed.