Australia’s Nine, Fairfax team for SVOD

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In yet another team effort to take on Netflix, Australia’s Nine Entertainment Co (NEC) and Fairfax Media are working together to launch SVOD service StreamCo.

NEC and Fairfax have formed a 50:50 joint venture and committed to investing $50m each in the new service over a multi-year period, including spend on marketing and advertising.

The two companies said they have already secured “cornerstone content” deals ahead of the launch, expected in the current financial year. They also said the service will offer “a broad range of local and international programming to subscribers for a fixed monthly subscription fee”.

StreamCo CEO Mike Sneesby said: “Having two of Australia’s pre-eminent media companies as StreamCo’s shareholders strengthens the base of our experience, while providing an amazing marketing and promotional platform for our new service. I look forward to revealing more details about our offering in the near future.”

The new venture is an attempt to gain a presence in Australia’s nascent VOD market before Netflix officially enters the territory next year. It also faces competition from local incumbent Presto, owned by Foxtel, which launched earlier this year.

In another corner of the English-speaking world, Canadian cable giants Rogers Communications and Shaw Communications recently joined forces to launch SVOD service shomi to compete with Netflix (see separate story here).

NEC was initially working with rival Seven West Media on StreamCo, but the two companies failed to reach an agreement. Seven West is now reportedly in talks with Foxtel to join Presto. Meanwhile, NEC recently bought out HBO’s 8% stake in another local VOD service, Quickflix.

Fairfax, a publishing, radio and digital media group that owns the Sydney Morning Herald and The Age, is reportedly considering acquiring a strategic stake in NEC ahead of mooted media reforms.