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Watchdog okays Seven, Foxtel SVOD JV

Australian media regulators have given Seven Network the greenlight to acquire half of new streaming service Presto TV and launch a planned JV with Foxtel.

Seven revealed its involvement in Presto last year in a joint announcement with pay TV operator Foxtel, but had not been officially given the go-ahead to own its 50% stake until today. Regulator the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has now cleared the JV after deciding the coming together of Australia’s largest free and pay TV channels would not constitute unfair advantage, and that competition in the territory’s SVOD space was increasing.

“The ACCC determined that, following the proposed acquisition, the Presto Entertainment service would continue to face strong competition from other SVOD services such as (Nine Network and Fairfax Media venture) Stan and Netflix, which has announced it will launch in Australia next month,” said ACCC chairman Rod Sims.

Foxtel has already launched a Presto Movies SVOD service, but Seven Network Operations, which is part of the Seven West Media group, will only buy into the Presto Entertainment business.

The new SVOD service, Presto TV, will be part of the Presto Entertainment bundle that launched in January. To this point Foxtel has been licensing content from Seven, with an interim management in place. A new full management team will be announced shortly.

“We have big plans for Presto Entertainment to be the leading player in the SVOD space and we are excited we can accelerate plans for Presto TV with our partners Seven West Media now that the ACCC has given their consent to our joint venture,” said Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein.

Seven West Media CEO Tim Worner added: “The combination of the leader in subscription television and the leader in broadcast television – coupled with the strengths in content creation – delivers a compelling offer to our audiences on Presto. Our future is our content and our ability to deliver that content anywhere anytime on any device to our audience.”