News


Nine, Fairfax prep A$100m SVOD service

Nine Network’s parent company is partnering with publishing group Fairfax Media to create a A$100 million (US$93.3 million) Australian subscription video-on-demand service.

Mike SneesbyThe service, StreamCo., has been in the works for the past year, with Nine Entertainment Co. Mike Sneesby (pictured) already in charge of the venture as CEO. Fairfax has now been confirmed as its second JV parent.

Both Nine and Fairfax will invest up to A$50 million over a multi-year period to the business, with Nine and Fairfax’s respective CEOs, David Gyngell and Greg Hywood sitting on a joint venture board.

StreamCo. will compete with existing SVOD services such as Quickflix and Foxtel’s Presto and comes ahead of a rumoured Netflix launch in Australia.

It is now expected launch in 2015, and will offer “a broad range of local and international programming” for a fixed monthly subscription fee. Consumers will not be obliged to take out a minimum term contract.

The joint venture business has secured “a number of cornerstone content deals ahead of its launch”, though no specific details were provided.

The StreamCo catalogue will, however, comprise a “substantial catalogue” spanning TV series, movies, kids and family programming, and documentaries from leading Australian and international studios, plus content from the Nine Network and its affiliated channels.

Structurally, StreamCo plans to utilise Nine’s television background and market expertise with subscription services and digital products experience of Fairfax, which placed its Sydney Morning Herald newspaper behind a paywall in 2012.

“I am excited about working with one of Australia’s iconic media companies on this ground breaking opportunity,” said Gyngell. “The combination of our two businesses will provide the joint venture with unprecedented distribution and awareness. I look forward to building one of Australia’s greatest new media businesses.”

“SVOD is a proven business model overseas, and we look forward to offering this service to our subscribers, and indeed all Australians,” added Hywood.

StreamCo is currently finalising its technical infrastructure.

In related news, Fairfax yesterday denied a move to take a stake in Nine Entertainment Co.