PBS Kids Launches in Australia With Foxtel

PBS Distribution has collaborated with Foxtel to launch the PBS Kids channel in Australia. The channel, which serves children 2-8, launched July 1.

The PBS Kids channel from Foxtel includes the Australian premieres of “Donkey Hodie,” a social-emotional puppet series produced by Fred Rogers Productions and Spiffy Pictures that encourages preschoolers to aim high, embrace challenges and work hard to achieve their goals, and “Elinor Wonders Why,” a STEM-based animated series about a curious rabbit and her pals living in Animal Town, created by physicist and educator Daniel Whiteson and cartoonist and robotics engineer Jorge Cham, to help encourage preschoolers’ curiosity as they learn about science. The channel will also air award-winning PBS Kids programs such as “Arthur,” a four-time recipient of the Emmy for Outstanding Children’s Animated Program and Peabody Award-winner “Molly of Denali.”

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“’Elinor Wonders Why’ helps give parents the confidence to say, ‘I don’t know the answer. Let’s explore it together,’” Whiteson said in a statement. “Asking questions and investigating the answer are at the core of scientific discovery, and we designed the series to model and encourage children, parents and educators to do just that together.”

“Much like my own daughter, Elinor, who inspired the series’ main character, kids everywhere love to wonder about things around them and find out the answers,” Cham said in a statement. “Our hope is that the show will help foster the natural curiosity of young children and make them want to explore and learn, just like Elinor and her friends do in these stories.”

“We are thrilled to be collaborating with PBS Distribution to bring PBS Kids’ award-winning content to our customers,” Amanda Laing, chief commercial and content officer, Foxtel Group, said in a statement. “Foxtel is committed to providing viewers the very best in family entertainment, and the addition of PBS Kids and its high quality, educational programming parents can trust, bolsters our strong suite of kids channels.”

“We are excited to offer this new audience the opportunities that PBS Kids content offers,” Andrea Downing, president of PBS Distribution, said in a statement. “Foxtel is inviting parents and children to experience this trusted content that helps children learn and grow.”

PBS Kids on Foxtel will also feature episodes from “Hero Elementary,” “Pinkalicious & Peterrific,” “Dinosaur Train,” and Emmy Award-winning series “Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood” and “Peg + Cat.”

Disney+ Signs Up 2 Million Aussies in 4 Months

Disney’s subscription streaming video platform launched in Australia and New Zealand on Nov. 19, 2019 — one week after its North American debut. New data from research group Roy Morgan finds Disney+ has attracted 2 million Aussies after four months. By comparison, Netflix took six months to generate 2 million subs after launching down under in 2015.

Disney+ is ahead of Amazon Prime Video with 1.6 million (up 1 million) and YouTube Premium at 1.47 million (up 161,000).

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Regardless, Netflix has extended its SVOD lead with 12.59 million Australians having access, an increase of more than 1 million. It is followed by Foxtel (including Kayo Sports) with an increase of 63,000 (4.87 million and 953,000 for Stan (3.72 million).

The relatively small sub increase for Foxtel is largely due to the strong performance of their sports-centric streaming service Kayo Sports, which attracted 704,000 viewers by March 2020, up by 530,000 on a year ago.

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When it comes to multiple subscription television services, Netflix plus Stan is the most popular combination with over 3.4 million Australians having access to both just ahead of Netflix plus Foxtel (3.1 million).

“The growth of subscription television services in Australia sped up in March as the nation entered a period of lockdown [due to COVID-19],” Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said in a statement.

Levine said that in March, more than 1 million Australians gained access to a SVOD service in their household. That compared with 893,000 SVOD additions in February.

“The increasing growth in the overall market has been predicted by many as Australians have been confined to their homes over the last two months and these results are the first to back up that prediction,” Levine said.

She contends that OTT video is growing due to the fact that different members of the same household are now able to have their own subscriptions to different services. Of Disney’s 2 million SVOD viewers, a large majority of 1.67 million (83%) subscribe to Netflix and 897,000 (45%) watch Stan.

“Foxtel’s launch next week of a new cut-price streaming service to go head-to-head against Netflix, Stan and Disney Plus does raise the risk of cannibalizing Foxtel’s existing revenue streams, but also sets Foxtel up take a share of the growing market of consumers increasingly gravitating towards low-cost services that offer extensive and deep catalogs,” Levine said.

Disney+ Launches in Australia, New Zealand and Puerto Rico

Disney’s branded subscription streaming video service, Disney+, has quietly launched in Australia, New Zealand and Puerto Rico — and in the process put immediate competitive pressure on reigning SVOD services Netflix and Stan with more than 11 million and 2.9 subscribers, respectively.

The arrival of the $8.99 (Australian) monthly or $89.99 annual Disney+ service features the identical 600 movies and 7,000 episodic programs available in the U.S. and Holland. And for the first time, the first 29 seasons of “The Simpsons” are available  Down Under.

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The Australian debut coincided with Disney content leaving Stan and also being removed from Foxtel, according to Ampere Analysis.

Disney+ household subscription affords up to four people streaming at the same time, downloads on up to 10 devices and the ability to set up to seven profiles.

Disney+ bows in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Italy and Spain on March 31, 2020.

Netflix Partners With Foxtel to Grow Subs in Mature Aussie Market

Netflix has partnered with Australian pay-TV operator Foxtel to help grow subscribers in an over-the-top video market it already dominates.

The pact comes about two years after Foxtel shuttered Presto, a proprietary SVOD service co-operated with Seven Network.

New research from Roy Morgan shows 13.36 million Australians now have access to either Netflix or Foxtel via a household subscription — which represents 64.4% of all Australians over the age of 14.

The research firm said 11.5 million Aussies have a household subscription to Netflix, while about 5 million have a subscription to Foxtel. About 3 million have access to both services.

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Netflix, which launched service in Australia and New Zealand in 2015, is targeting the 2 million Foxtel subs who aren’t already members.

The service, which earlier this month posted its first quarterly U.S. subscriber loss in eight years, generated little more than 50% of its projected international subs.

“Foxtel and Netflix are undoubtedly the two giants of Australian pay-TV and the plan for Foxtel to provide Netflix through the Foxtel IQ box set … carries significant opportunities for both services,” Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said in a statement.

The move also appears preemptive by Foxtel and mirrors Comcast Cable’s recent decision to offer direct access to Netflix after years of ignoring the service.

“[It’s] a solid defensive measure to help prevent existing Foxtel subscribers ditching the service to move to cheaper [OTT video] alternatives and provides an extra incentive for new users to sign up for Foxtel,” Levine said.

“The proliferation of cheap streaming video services led by Netflix in recent years has provided the biggest challenge yet to Foxtel’s traditional pay-TV business model and there are more cashed up competitors on the way.”

Indeed, nearly 3 million Australians watch Stan SVOD platform and services such as Amazon Prime Video and YouTube Premium are growing quickly.

“The more Foxtel can be regarded as the ‘gateway’ to video content from the likes of Netflix, and perhaps other rival services in future, the more access Foxtel will gain to detailed user data metrics that will help them tailor their services, and advertising, to individual viewing preferences and the more valuable their service will in turn be to advertisers looking for an audience,” Levine said.

“For Netflix, the ability to link up with Foxtel’s News and Sport services and be a frictionless option for the Foxtel viewers who don’t currently access Netflix, is an opportunity for growth in a market which may be reaching maturity.”

Netflix Australia Tops 11.6 Million Subscribers

Netflix has more than 11.6 million subscribers in Australia — four years after launching service in a country of 24 million pe0ple. That tally is up nearly 18% from a year ago, according to new data from research firm Roy Morgan.

Nearly 14 million Aussies (age 14 and above) now have access to pay-TV or subscription video-on-demand, which is up nearly 8% from last year.

Leading Australian-owned SVOD service Stan has about 2.9 million subs, up more than 43% from a year ago.Rival services include Amazon Prime Video (+130.7%), YouTube Premium (+37%) and Fetch (+20.9%).

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New Foxtel-owned sports streaming service Kayo Sports has more than 300,000 subs after just six months of operation.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine says more than two-thirds of Australians now have access to SVOD services in their households – driven largely by the services’ lower monthly cost compared to the traditional pay-TV bundle.

“The results indicate that the low monthly prices for the new subscription services led by Netflix are driving take-up across traditional demographic boundaries, while the higher cost of a full-bundle service from Foxtel is generally favored more by larger family units,” Levine said in a statement.

“Netflix has undoubtedly been a star performer since launching in … a market with a proliferating array of choices for the consumer. It will be more important than ever for existing and new streaming services to correctly identify which genres will appeal to the widest possible audiences.”

Netflix Set to Reach 10 Million Subs Down Under — Despite Scant Physical Presence

Netflix ended June with 9.8 million subscribers in Australia, up about 30% from a year ago, according to new data from research firm Roy Morgan. The SVOD pioneer launched service in Australia and New Zealand in 2015.

Morgan contends Netflix will reach 10 million subs by September, based on an online survey of 13,200 consumers from April through June. Netflix now has 48% market penetration among Australians, aged 14 and older.

Impressive stats in a country of about 25 million people; more so considering Netflix has yet to release an original native series (“Tidelands” is in production) and reportedly doesn’t have a single Australia employee.

The service spearheads an over-the-top video market with more than 13 million subscribers. Other players include Stan, a joint venture between Nine Entertainment Co. and Fairfax Communications, with 2 million subs; YouTube Premium (formerly You Tube Red) with 1 million subs; Fetch with 710,000 subs and Amazon Prime Video with 273,000 subs.

Prime Video officially launched in Australia in June.

“Although Netflix clearly is well ahead of its rivals, other SVODs are also growing strongly – and generally at a faster rate,” Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan, said in a statement. “In a changing media landscape, highlighted by the recent merger agreement between Nine and Fairfax, the impressive performance of SVOD in recent years shows there are avenues to growth for incumbent media businesses challenged by new entrants into the market.”

“Australia is a great market for us,” CEO Reed Hastings told The Sydney Morning Herald in March.

Indeed, yet how great has Netflix been for the Aussie economy? Foxtel, the country’s largest pay-TV operator, saw its subscriber base decline nearly 3% in 2017 to 2.8 million – largely due to Netflix. The nation’s pay-TV market stands around 3.6 million subscribers.

Netflix in 2016 shut down the ability for subs employing virtual private networks (VPNs) from accessing content outside of their geographical location – such as Australia.

Outraged by the apparent one-sided business model, former Treasurer Joe Hockey in 2015 introduced legislation (dubbed the “Netflix Tax”) aimed at taxing foreign companies delivering digital content into Australia. The updated GST (goods and services tax) went into effect last year.

Now, countries such as Holland are considering laws that would require foreign SVOD services (i.e. Netlflix and Prime Video) to stream/produce localized content.

“Quotas are well-intentioned ways for governments to try to make sure there’s investment in local content, to try to strengthen local culture,” Hastings told The Morning Herald. “But, like most things, the regulations often backfire.”

“Tidelands,” the 10-episode series about an ex-con who returns to her local fishing village and discovers more than old memories, is set to begin streaming this year.