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Hey Presto? Foxtel 'Netflix' Delayed, Bugs Blamed

By Oonagh Reidy | Monday | 20/01/2014

Foxtel's answer to Netflix won't be hitting our screens, just yet

Presto, the movies on-demand service due to launch last year, has been delayed due to "a few technical issues," 

A Foxtel spokesperson told AFR, "this is a complicated platform to put together and there have been a few technical issues."

"We're double checking everything to make sure it's completely working before we launch it. We're aiming to launch it in the next couple of months but we haven't got a specific date at this stage."

The service will cost $25 a month for on-demand, ad free movies from the likes of 20th Century Fox (which News Corp, Foxtels' parent own), Warners Bros, Disney Sony, seen as a defensive play to stymie foreign content invaders like Netflix, Hulu. 

Archer: One of Netflix TV shows
Foxtel may not push the new service too hard, as it could risk losing existing Foxtel Premium movie customers.

However, despite the delays, it seems the Pay TV giant may have time on its side.

Despite persistent rumors, there is no sign of Netflix launching a local service in Australia, despite constant chatter suggesting it is set to make a massive play for Aussie eyeballs. 

There are around 150,000 Australians who use Virtual Private Networks to circumvent current blocks placed on them accessing Netlflix' US service, home to Kevin Spacey's made for Netflix series House of Cards, and Orange Is The New Black, as well as favourites Mad Men, 30 Rock and Sons Of Anarchy

But local licensing has always been a major road block to Netflix setting up an operation here, as has a limited market size. 

So, by default, Netflix US is likely to always have a better programme menu than Netflix Oz. 

And you don't have to try too hard to guess which one viewers will go for. 

In addition, Foxtel has the exclusive local rights many of the US TV hit shows from HBO and other, so is unlikely to let its US rival enter its home market without a fierce fight.   

Netflix currently has 40 million subscribers globally, but the challenges of moving to a market like Australia have long been flagged. One only needs to look at Quickflix ongoing bumpy ride to see them. 

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