The streaming wars: who really has the best offer

Disney+ show Only Murders In The Building is the No.1 TV show of 2021, according to Rotten Tomatoes, cementing the newcomer's rising profile.
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It started with Netflix, but now there are a whole pack of streaming services to choose from, with a wide range of prices and options. Jaren Israel reports. This is the second in a four-part series on the changing Australian screen landscape.

Australia’s streaming business sector is stacked.

With new players like Paramount+, BINGE, Disney+ and Apple TV+ joining the now veteran platforms Netflix, Prime Video and Stan, getting to premium amusement content is simpler and more reasonable than it’s ever been.

A close comparison of what each streaming platform offers and the amount it costs could save you a fortune over the long haul.

The first things to consider are value, content, quality, and compatible devices. But there is more: which streaming video on-demand (SVOD) services offer no lock in contracts, free trials, and multiple simultaneous devices.

The streaming wars: who really has the best offer

Netflix is still the most dominant streaming service in Australia, with a 29 per cent market share, followed by Amazon Prime Video at 19 per cent. The battle for third place is between Stan with 16 per cent and Disney+ with 15 per cent, with Binge (10 per cent) and Foxtel Now (7 per cent).

From January to June, Netflix went from just above 30 per cent market share to the 29 per cent it now enjoys, with Amazon Prime Video and Stan also having reduced market share. Disney+ and, in particular Binge, absorbed most of the users that cancelled the “Big 3”, with Foxtel Now dropping in market share slightly and all other streaming services roughly staying the same.

The streaming wars: who really has the best offer

Netflix – the first and still the biggest

With partnerships with companies like DreamWorks under its belt, Netflix is consistently rolling out high-quality original content for all tastes and ages.

This consistent stream of quality originals is one thing, but the company can attribute a big part of its success to innovative streaming technologies, like developing its own compression technology and toying with interactive content. Early original blockbuster series House of Cards, Orange is the new Black and Daredevil paved the way for the decade to come.

Now in 2021, the original content being produced by Netflix is too long to list, with multiple hit series such as Stranger Things, The Witcher, Tiger King and, as of 2021 its most streamed show, Squid Games. It also acquired the streaming rights to Seinfeld for $500 million.

Netflix offers consumers three different options at three different price ranges, the first is the basic, which gives consumers one stream with a max video quality of standard definition at a monthly price of $10.99. Next comes Netflix standard, which gives consumers two streams with a max streaming quality of High definition at a monthly price of $15.99. The third option for consumers is Netflix premium, which has four simultaneous streams with a max video quality of 4K ultra-HD at a monthly price of $19.99.

With Netflix adding new content to its library monthly, consumers will always have a plethora of options. As of October 2021, Netflix has 2170 TY shows and 4121 movies.

The streaming wars: who really has the best offer

Disney+ – focus on family

Settling on Disney+ is a strong streaming decision the whole family can appreciate. It has a full Library of all Disney classics, as well as the Marvel and Star Wars universes and National Geographic. Since buying Fox studios they have the full archive, which they’ve put in their new section Star, where consumers can find Grey’s Anatomy, Prison Break and Die Hard, to name a few.

They’re also investing heavily in new content through their current properties (Marvel and Star Wars) with series The Mandalorian and Wanda Vision not only gaining fan love but critical acclaim through the prime-time Emmys.

Disney + consumers have the choice of paying a monthly subscription of $11.99 or paying an upfront annual subscription price of $119.99 (two months free, or about 17 per cent saving), a rare option.

Unlike Netflix, Disney Plus have just the one package for its customers – four simultaneous streams with a max video quality of 4K Ultra HD with offline viewing available.

The streaming wars: who really has the best offer

Amazon Prime Video – the low-cost option

Before web-based video was even a thing, Australians searching for a deal on the most recent DVD motion pictures would head to Amazon.

As far back as 2006, Amazon offered video rental and download administrations like iTunes. In 2011 it set up Amazon Prime Instant Video in the US, a web-based stage offering a wide scope of content to clients via a $99 a year subscription. It wasn’t until December 2016 that Amazon’s streaming platform truly became relevant for Australians.

Planned around Top Gear replacement The Grand Tour, Amazon took Prime Video worldwide to 200 nations, including Australia. The line-up of content was not as broad as what was available through Netflix or Stan, but Amazon’s interest in unique series and purchase of other telecasters’ substance has made Prime Video a major player.

It boasts an array of critically acclaimed original content such as The Marvellous Mrs. Maisel, Jack Ryan, Star Trek: Picard, and Al Pacino’s Hunters.

On the sports side is the series All or Nothing, which takes fans behind the scenes of the biggest football, rugby, cricket and NFL teams in the world and follows them for a season.

In terms of price, Amazon Prime cannot be beat: for $6.99 a month, consumers can use up to three streams with a max video quality of 4K ultra-HD and the capability of offline viewing. Amazon also offers a 330-day free trial, during which time customers can use the offer of free shipping on goods, as well as the full range of video content.

The streaming wars: who really has the best offer

Binge – recent Australian player

Binge entered the market as an adversary to the bounty of streaming suppliers and as an option in contrast to Foxtel Now. Binge is made by Streamotion, an auxiliary of News Corp and a sister organisation to Foxtel.

It was originally thought that Binge would do to the Foxtel Drama pack what Kayo Sports, also made by Streamotion, did to Foxtel’s Sport pack. As in, giving a way to get to explicit Foxtel content without paying for every one of the nonexclusive directs in Foxtel’s Pop and Lifestyle packs.

The contents accessible through Binge aren’t all from a solitary Foxtel add-on. Rather it’s a more curated list of titles from across Foxtel’s drama, lifestyle, pop, docos, kids and movies packs.

The substance is developed with enormous name suppliers like HBO, NBCUniversal and Warner Bros and includes Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, Big little lies, and Succession.

Binge was delivered across Australia on May 25, 2020. It offers a 14-day free trial, long enough to give customers a taste of the premium content they have. It has three different price packages: with Binge Basic, which costs $10 a month, consumers get one stream with a max video quality of SD; next is Binge Standard, which gives two streams with a max video quality of HD at $14 a month, the third and final option is Binge premium which cost $18 a month and allows up to four streams with a max video quality of HD. 

The streaming wars: who really has the best offer

Stan – Netflix’s big rival in Australia

Stan, owned by Nine Entertainment, is perhaps Netflix’s most grounded rival in Australia. Stan has access to an assortment of makers, including MGM, BBC Worldwide, Village Roadshow, Starz, and Lionsgate. These associations permit Stan to stream some of the biggest blockbusters.

As it stands Stan has over 700 TV shows and more than 2500 films, and in Australia it Is the only streaming platform that offers Academy award-winning film Parasite.

But Stan is confronting a few obstacles since the launch of Paramount Plus, which manages Viacom, CBS, and Showtime. Stan has effectively lost Showtime content to the new streaming stage and more is in question.

Stan is priced very similarly to Netflix and Binge, as well as having three different subscriptions packages, starting at $10 a month is Stan basic, which gives users one stream with a max video quality of SD and offline viewing available for selected titles. Next is Stan standard, which for $14 a month allows up to three streams at a max video quality of HD. The third option is Stan premium, which allows customers to have four streams at a max video quality of 4K ultra-HD at a price of $19p.m.

Stan Sports launched in February, giving its consumers something that no other SVOD offers – live and exclusive sports and entertainment, with rugby as its primary drawcard, and then adding the Wimbledon, French and Australian tennis grand slams. In June, Stan Sport brought in UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League in a three-year deal. The sport content is $10 extra a month.

The streaming wars: who really has the best offer

Apple TV+ – a value proposition

Apple TV+ means to be a certifiable opponent to Netflix, presenting on-request and restrictive TV series and motion pictures from some of the world’s best narrators.

It has similarities to Netflix premium, offering 4K video, Dolby Atmos sound on general content, family sharing for up to six clients, and the capacity to stream on six gadgets at the same time. Content can be downloaded for disconnected use, as well. 

A subscription costs $7.99 a month for full access. There is a seven-day free preliminary for all new subscribers. And if you buy another Apple item, you get a year’s membership included.

You can add Apple TV+ in a pack by means of Apple One. The cost shifts between $19.95 a month and $39.95 a month depending on the number of other Apple administrations you’re hoping to package.

The streaming wars: who really has the best offer

Paramount Plus – the newcomer

Paramount Plus is the freshest player inn an undeniably packed streaming scene. Viacom CBS Australia and New Zealand’s membership video-on-request web-based feature 10 All Access rebranded as Paramount Plus in August 2021.

But it’s more than simply a rebrand. There has been a fast development of its library with both new and inherited content. It will turn into the home of Australian football through its A-League, Socceroos, and Matildas privileges.

It launched in Australia with 301 movies and 286 tv shows, with some iconic film franchise in its library such as the Harry Potter and Indiana Jones films and the series revival of Dexter.

Paramount Plus comes in at the aggressive price point at $8.99 a month. This includes up to three simultaneous streams with a max video quality of HD and it includes offline viewing. Like Disney Plus, it has a yearly membership choice that costs $89.99 (two months free, or a saving of about 17 per cent)

The streaming wars: who really has the best offer

Foxtel – pay-TV veteran

Foxtel was established in 1995 as a joint endeavour between Fox Media and Telstra. It began by offering 20 channels to Australians. After getting the client base from now defunct Galaxy TV, it was able to offer satellite. 

Foxtel developed quickly and kept on adding premium stations to its bundle, including top-rated network shows from around the world. On Fox8, The Simpsons and Family Guy reliably rate well, while different directs like A&E get 85,000 watchers with its US-partnered shows such as Pawn Stars and Storage Wars. By 2011 Foxtel had turned into the biggest pay-TV administrator in Australia, taking up more than 30 per cent of the market with 1.65 million customers. 

Foxtel has for quite some time been known as the home for premium TV in Australia. Regardless of whether you favour famous sitcoms or the most recent premium HBO content, Foxtel has tied down the rights to some of the absolute best small-screen content.

Foxtel offers a full set of options, including an on-request streaming service: Foxtel Now has a top-notch TV and film library. Unlike the SVOD services, Foxtel requires a set-top box to access its channel packages. The sports pack HD cost $29 which includes all Fox Sports channels, beIN sports channels and ESPN, etc. Foxtel Plus HD $49 includes some favourites such as Fox8, BBC, MTV, and the Discovery Channel. Movies HD $20 includes all movie channels, including premieres and greats. Favourites $20 includes some hidden gem favourites such as Nat Geo, History Syfy and Box Sets. Finally, Kids $5 has something for all ages of kids, Cartoon network, CBeebies and Nickelodeon.

Foxtel has also made Netflix available through their set top boxes for an extra $12 a month.

The streaming wars: who really has the best offer

Kayo – for the sports fans

Kayo markets itself as an all-inclusive resource for live streaming games in Australia with the rights to more than 50 sports.

From Aussie rules to wrestling to lawn bowls, Kayo has taken the sports previously accessible through Foxtel – including ESPN, beIN Sports, Racing.com and Fox Sports – and given it a new home. Live games are the lure, but Kayo is also home to superior quality on-request content such as replays, interviews, narratives and bespoke bundles. 

Kayo Sports originally launched on cell phones (iOS and Android), Mac, PC, Apple TV, and Chromecast. Before long it added Telstra TV, Android TV and now Sony Bravia and Samsung TVs. Kayo offers a 14-day free trial. Once subscribed, there are two packages to select from: basic at $25 a month, which has a max video quality of HD and allows two streams; and premium at $35 a month, which also has a max video quality of HD but allows up to three streams. Customers with a Telstra account get a $10 discount per month on either.

The streaming wars: who really has the best offer

Freeview – the one that costs nothing

Freeview presents to you the best Australian TV content free of charge.

With the introduction of Freeview came all new free SVOD services from Australia’s major television networks. 7plus allows unlimited simultaneous streams with a max video quality of standard definition. 10 play allows unlimited streams and has a max video quality of HD. 9Now, however, only allows one stream while having a max video quality of HD. ABC iView has unlimited streams, however, only has a max video quality of SD. SBS on demand allows for users to have one stream with a max video quality of HD.