The cold war of media streaming just got even hotter, with the recent announcement that online internet streaming content service Quickflix has struck new content deals with NBC Universal, Walt Disney Company and BBC Worldwide – three of the biggest hitters in modern entertainment.
Included in the new deals is a formidable mix of cult and popular entertainment, such as Downton Abbey, Sherlock, Parks and Recreation, Doctor Who, Scandal and Ripper Street.
This roundup of programming now makes Quickflix a contender against the big internet streaming services in the market – Foxtel, Google Play or iTunes.
What makes the new content deal all very interesting is that they come hot on the heels of recent, similar announcements from Foxtel.
In 2013, Foxtel announced exclusive content deals with BBC Worldwide and HBO, securing the rights for transmission of heavy hitters Game of Thrones, Girls, Boardwalk Empire, The Newsroom and True Blood.
Interestingly, Doctor Who was not part of the BBC deal – indicating the possibility that both Foxtel and Quickflix were locked in a bidding war over content distribution rights.
This is further evidenced in Foxtel choosing to pump cash into owning exclusive rights to programs like Game of Thrones, ensuring Australian audiences can only legally watch the series if they are Foxtel subscribers.
Basically, the big guns of Australian Internet TV have been slowly positioning their pawns, and are now ready to declare all-out war on each other.
Usually, this kind of battle should ultimately benefit the consumer, with competing companies adopting increasingly more flexible service packages and pricing strategies in a bid to outshine and undercut the competition and earn them a greater slice of the pie.
But the interim reality this now presents for the consumer is you will need to subscribe to a number of services to obtain on-demand, streaming access to all your favourite shows.
So, Do you like Game of Thrones? Then you’ll need to subscribe to Foxtel’s Showcase channel – a package that will cost you $77 a month. Let’s hope you enjoy the various other channels and programs too.
Are you unable to sleep without a nightly dose of Benedict Cumberbatch, ie Sherlock? Then you can download it from iTunes, from $19.99 per season. The same service has House of Cards, but that’ll cost you $41.99.
If you prefer your drama gritty and a little bit sexy, you can stream The Newsroom from Quickflix for $25.99 a season. The majority of the service’s other new series are similarly priced, which is usually a few dollars below their competitors.
On the face of it, when it comes to choosing content they want, when they want it, these deals appear to give the consumer greater flexibility and choice. But the reality is, we’re still stuck behind a paywall.
Mark Gambino is a technology, music and media writer.