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Is A New, Free SVOD Player Set To Disrupt The Disruptors?

1950 --- 1950s Family Sitting In Easy Chairs Watching Television --- Image by © Camerique/ClassicStock/Corbis

The US streaming video on demand market (SVOD) is set to get a new player offering free content, but with a catch – there’s ads.

Discount chain store Walmart already has its own SVOD service called Vudu; however, US media is reporting it’s set to launch “Vudu Movies On Us” that offers free content and is set to go head-to-head with likes of Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.

Although it’s not entirely clear what content will be on offer, it’s understood that “Vudu Movies On Us” will go down the “classic movie” route. It’s also unclear how many ads a viewer will have to sit through.

Although there’s no plans for something similar in the Australian market, it does follow on from last week’s news reported on B&T that Amazon Prime could launch in Australia as early as next month. The SVOD player apparently keen to cash-in on its prime piece of content, the Top Gear trio’s new show The Grand Tour, before fans start pirating it.

Earlier this month, it was announced that the Seven-Foxtel SVOD joint venture, Presto, would cease to air by January 2017.

So the question remains, would people tune in to a free SVOD with ads and re-run content? If anything it would be a blow to the free-to-airs, particularly with their older viewership, while it would be yet another player attempting to swim in the ad pool.

In a recent interview with B&T, Foxtel CEO, Peter Tonagh, agreed the entire industry was going through immense change due to the number of new players.

“I love working in businesses that are going through transformation; through disruptive change. There’s no better time to be in television right now because it is so disruptive,” he said.

However, Tonagh said it was the player that offered strong local content and live sport who would ultiamtely prevail.

“Yes, there’s a lot of new players coming into that market. We need to be much more selective about which content we really own and become known for,” he said.

“Foxtel’s known for being about live, exclusive sport and that will continue. We’re increasingly about live and exclusive international drama. We’re really ramping-up our investment in local drama and that has a huge fan base and will remain exclusive to us. Then we’ve got a bunch of lifestyle programs and those channels are incredibly strong and we want to focus on those and bring those to life,” he said.

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