Australia’s Presto follows Canada’s Shomi into oblivion as HBO pulls back in Europe.
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Canadians are still reeling – okay, maybe not really – from the news that streaming service Shomi will fold at the end of November. But they’re not the only ones who are losing an alternative to Netflix.
Australia’s Presto has also announced it’s shutting down, in this case by January. The service, co-owned by News Corp.’s pay-TV operator Foxtel and broadcaster Seven West Media, didn’t give a reason, but it’s likely the same explanation as Shomi: it isn’t making money.
Presto has signed up an estimated 200,000 subscribers since launching 18 months ago. Netflix, which launched in Australia in the same month, has an estimated 1.9 million customers in comparison.
Shomi, a joint venture between Canadian cable companies Rogers and Shaw, says it has 900,000 customers, although independent estimates peg the number of paying subscribers to be much lower. Netflix has more than five million subscribers in Canada, according to those same estimates.
Australia, like Canada, will now be down to two players. Canada has Bell’s CraveTV – although not for long, in my opinion – while Australia has Stan, a co-venture between Nine Entertainment Co. and Fairfax Media.
Streaming aficionados in the Netherlands are also losing HBO Go as the premium U.S. network is pulling out of the country. Fans of shows such as Game of Thrones and Silicon Valley will be able to watch them exclusively on cable networks, but the streaming option looks to be done, at least for now.
For those hoping to see the network roll out something like HBO Now, the $14.99 (U.S.) per month standalone streaming service available in the United States, in other countries… well, it’s probably not in the cards. As Variety reports:
HBO Netherlands launched in 2012, the same year as HBO bowed HBO Nordic, a standalone operation, for Scandinavia. Efforts of HBO Go to face off with Netflix in Scandinavia have been “very disappointing,” said Francois Godard, at Enders Analysis.
It’s increasingly looking like no one can stand against the Netflix goliath, which really isn’t a good thing for consumers. If competitors can’t make a go of it, the company will inevitably be emboldened to raise rates – and possibly even frequently.
It’s not all roses for Netflix, though. Chief executive Reed Hastings told The New Yorker last week that an entry into China “doesn’t look good,” given that the government recently shut down movie offerings from Disney and Apple iTunes.
That’s more bad news for consumers elsewhere too. Without access to the biggest untapped market in the world, Netflix’s customer growth will stall sooner rather than later – and that’s when price increases are likely to begin in earnest.