After 18 months of planning and strategic negotiation, Foxtel has today launched its highly anticipated new streaming service, Binge.
Binge will offer more than 10,000 hours of local and international content at launch, including premium drama, lifestyle and reality series and movies. It’s expected this content library will expand to 20,000 hours within 12 months.
Speaking to TV Blackbox, Binge CEO, Julian Ogrin stressed the success of Binge would hinge on its content.
The name speaks for itself. What we’re going to do is really bring all the emotional benefits of bingeing,”
“And that’s what people ultimately want, they want to sit down and escape from the busy day schedule and sort of lose yourself into another world.
We think that that energy and warmth is something we can bring into market”
The launch of Binge comes just two weeks after Foxtel renegotiated and extended its deal with WarnerMedia. The new deal was seen as critical to the success of the service and ensures Binge subscribers can access a vast library of Warner content including premium drama from HBO, and much-anticipated Warner Bros.’ produced scripted originals from HBO Max.
“Yeah, at the end of the day, I’ll probably let Patrick (Delany) speak to those deals and those rights, but for us we are an aggregator”
“it was 12 months ago we were building this. So we didn’t know anything about the future.
We were making the decision on the strength of content we had 12 months ago, and we were very happy with the content that we could bring to market.”
Binge will also provide subscribers extensive access to content from some of the world’s biggest studios including, NBCU, FX, BBC and Sony. Along with more content from studio partners including ViacomCBS, Discovery, Fremantle, StudioCanal, ITV, EndemolShine International, Paramount, A+E, and all3media.
While Foxtel has never penetrated past 30% of the Australian population, the company now believes lost cost, more convenient offerings such as Binge and Kayo will allow it to target customers that never would have considered pay television.
“I actually think we’re filling a really good sweet spot at the moment.”
“We think that a lot of the behavioural experience has worked Out by the existing players,”
“right now we’re coming into an established market, but with enormous growth potential in the next three years.”
At launch, Binge will feature many of the best and most talked-about shows in the world right now including Succession, Westworld, Big Little Lies, Breeders, The Plot Against America, and The Outsider.
The service will also feature the new Hugh Jackman series Bad Education and Mrs. America starring Cate Blanchett and Rose Byrne.
The Binge library will also include some all-time top-rated dramas and comedies like Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, The Office, Seinfeld, Modern Family, The Walking Dead, Chernobyl, The Wire, and Band of Brothers.
Classic comedies Friends and Big Bang Theory will not be available on Binge at launch, but will be arriving soon when existing contracts with Stan and Netflix expire.
Also coming soon are new titles including a reboot of Gossip Girl, The Flight Attendant featuring Big Bang Theory star Kaley Cuoco and Ridley Scott’s upcoming sci-fi series Raised by Wolves.
More new titles coming soon include Trackers, House of the Dragon, Noughts and Crosses, and new BBC series White House Farm, a six-part factual drama based on real-life events.
Binge will feature an extensive collection of movies including the Fast & Furious, Jurassic Park, Mission Impossible and DC Universe collections. Plus, all-time great films from directors like Steven Spielberg, Christopher Nolan, Martin Scorsese and Quentin Tarantino.
Acclaimed documentaries including David Attenborough’s Frozen Planet, will be available, along with Planet Earth I and II and Blue Planet II.
Reality titles include Real Housewives and Keeping Up with the Kardashians, while lifestyle favourites such as Grand Designs UK and Making It with Amy Poehler will also be available.
Kids programming on Binge will be limited at launch, but will expand quickly over the first year with popular titles from Nick Jr, WB and CBeebies.
Pricing for the service will start at $10 per month for a single stream SD account. Subscribers looking for HD content will need to spend $14 for two simultaneous streams, or $18 for four streams. It’s a pricing model that puts in line with Netflix and Stan, but higher than alternatives including Amazon and Disney+.
“We see ourselves as joining at the hip with Netflix”
“Netflix gives you that depth and breadth across multiple categories, they have a lot of new content coming in month in, month out.
What we’ve learned about Disney+ is it’s got the iconic catalogue and the iconic library. It really hits that sweet spot for new families, kids, and teenagers to young adults,
But they don’t have the new shows in volumes coming month in, month out. They rely more on catalogue”
“We see ourselves positioned right there beside that Netflix pricing and value proposition.”
Customers can sign up for a two-week free trial from Monday at BINGE.com.au
Binge programming will not be available in 4K with Foxtel deciding to keep that technology for their premium pay-tv subscribers. Binge content will be available with closed captions soon.
“We won’t have 4K at launch”
“we believe that the HD products we’re putting forward at the moment are very much enough for us to get started with.
As we build a base, we’ll look at our 4K technology plans into the future, but no plans at this stage.”
Binge has been developed by the team that created the dedicated sport offering Kayo and will utilise the same back-end architecture.
Kayo users will feel immediately comfortable with the Binge interface with the design utilising similar fonts and menu icons as the sport offering.
Features of the interface include.
- BINGE Centres – the place to find out more about the shows and movies, with behind the scenes interviews, footage and information.
- BINGE Lists – users can save shows for later, rewatch a favourite or continue from where they left off.
- Discover – curated carousels powered by a team of experts, not just algorithms, to help users discover content by mood, theme, moments, Top 5’s and more.
The team at Kayo/Binge have developed their own encoding and compression technologies that will enable them to deliver a HD stream at between 3 and 4 megabits per second to ensure customers use less data and receive a more reliable stream on mobile networks.
At launch, Binge will be available on the web and optimised for Chrome, Safari, Microsoft Edge and Firefox browsers.
Apple users will have no trouble accessing Binge with dedicated apps available for iPhone, iPad and Apple TV. Airplay streaming will be supported. (Requires iOS version 12 or above)
Android users won’t miss out with apps at launch for Android phones, tablets and Android TV. Chromecast will also be supported. (Requires Android OS version 6 or above)
“We’ve got all the iOS, Android apps, we’ve got Android TV, we’ve got Apple TV. We’ve got all the casting capabilities, in 90 days we’ll have Samsung TV.
And then obviously we expand into LG and Sonic and PS4 and Xbox and just continually make sure we’re getting through every device that our customers want.”
“We listen to our customers. We will make sure the product experience stands up to do what we set out to do,”
“Our brand says we are encouraging people to indulge and escape so that they can get away from their daily routine so they can binge on their favourite shows.
If our customers are actually doing that, we’ve succeeded.”