This past week, the talk of the tech world has undeniably been the launch of video-streaming service Netflix in Australia.
On March 24, following years of speculation, the iconic US online video service launched in Australia, undercutting rivals Presto and Stan by $1 per month.
Ahead of the launch, iiNet would be download-quota-free for its broadband, Naked DSL, NBN and iiNet TV with Fetch customers.
Not to be outdone, rival Optus announced it is bundling a six month subscription to Netflix on some of its home broadband bundle, post-paid mobile phone and post-paid mobile broadband services. It is also offering a shorter three-month Netflix offer will also available to prepaid mobile and prepaid broadband customers who activate the included SIM.
Telstra responded by offering its T-Box customers a free six-month subscription to Presto. As with its rivals, the service will be unmetered through Telstra’s fixed home broadband customers.
History suggests that, over the next little while, there will probably be a price war as the various streaming services grab market share, before settling down into some sort of equilibrium, possibly with a shakeout of some competitors. What happened to airfares after Jetstar and Tiger Airways launched is about to happen to streaming TV.
Nonetheless, it’s a pretty good time to be a couch potato at the moment – especially if you plan on doing some binge viewing over the weekend.
The tipping point
Unless you run a subscription-TV comparison service, produce independent TV shows or install home aerials, the impact on your business from this is not likely to be immediate. However, the big-picture impact will be.
In the not-too-distant past, hooking up your TV up the internet has been a rather nerdy thing to do. Sure, there are many people who have long used VPN (virtual private network) services to access Netflix in the US or made a habit of downloading torrents of TV shows well in advance.
But until now, much of this content has been viewed on traditional computing devices. Likewise, there has been enough of a barrier to make sure it’s not part of the regular viewing habits of your Great Uncle Henry, who still asks where the “any” key is on his computer.
What the launch of Netflix represents is the key tipping point when watching streaming video off the internet in the living room on your TV becomes an entirely mainstream activity.
As a result, over the coming months, there’s likely to be a not insignificant number of people who will be picking up a smart TV, set-top box or HDMI stick for the first time. The smart-TV platform wars between Windows 10, Apple TV, Google Android TV, Tizen, webOS, Firefox OS and other platforms are set to accelerate.
In turn, the number of people running apps on their TV, using services such as YouTube on TV rather than a computer or tablet, and regularly exposed to internet video ads via TV is likely to grow dramatically.
Even though Netflix boasts it’s commercial free (as Foxtel once did), its flow-on effect of people watching more content from other internet video services on their TVs is likely to open up more opportunities for SMEs to do video advertising. While buying 400,000 random metro prime-time viewers on broadcast TV isn’t viable for most small businesses, selectively targeting a few thousand potential consumers through streaming TV ads is.
In turn, those ads can be used to get customers to click through to your website, a full-length information video, or an app where a customer can directly place an order – things old broadcast TV ads couldn’t do.
In short, the growth internet TV in the lounge room means more opportunities for small businesses to better and more effectively reach customers – and it’s not hard to see the possibilities.