Stuff launches movie streaming business, appoints former Quickflix boss

Stuff has announced its entry into the streaming market with the establishment of Stuff Pix.

The new offering is the result of a partnership between Stuff Fibre (run by Sam Morse) and content and technology experts MuviNow Australia.

The business will launch in early 2018 and offer movies-on-demand through a series of content partnerships, which were previously held by Quickflix.

Stuff Pix will offer a catalogue of 600 films, which users will be able to watch online for $1 to $7 each. This model is referred to as transactional video on demand (TVOD) and allows the user to rent the film and watch it as many times as they like for 48 hours. 

Stuff Pix is led by general manager Paddy Buckley, who joins from Quickflix, where he served as general manager for almost six years.

The departure of Buckley and the shift of the content deals from Quickflix suggests the Australian-owned streaming company will be ending its activities in the local market. StopPress is awaiting a response from Quickflix regarding the future of the business.

Stuff Pix will differ from the existing SVOD players in the market in that it will have no subscription or joining fee. Instead, the service will function as an online DVD store, allowing users to pay only for the films or shows that they want to watch.        

“New Zealand consumers will be getting some of the biggest blockbuster movies soon after they have shown at cinemas and months ahead of current subscription services,” Buckley is quoted in a Stuff release.  

This move comes after Stuff’s recent acquisition of a 49 percent stake in energy retail company Energy Club.

Robert Hutchinson, Stuff chief revenue officer, explains that the launch of Stuff Pix represents another step in its long-term plan that has seen the company diverge from its traditional media roots.

“We have consistently said that Fairfax is focused on building new businesses so that we can continue to fund high-quality local journalism,” Hutchison says. “As a business, we are developing a wide range of diverse and new revenue streams.”

Turning the business into a reliable source of revenue could, however, pose a challenge with Netflix, Lightbox, Neon, Apple, Google, TVNZ and MediaWorks all offering streaming services in the local market.

While these businesses might differ in approach, Stuff will have to work hard to convince its 2 million users that it’s worth tapping into the service.

As Sky chief executive John Fellet previously told NZ Marketing: “The easiest part is buying the content. The tricky part is figuring out how to make enough money to pay for it.”

That said, Stuff Pix could serve as a marketing tool, with the aim of attracting customers to the Stuff Fibre broadband offering.

Stuff Fibre customers are already being offered a complimentary movie every month, and these deals could potentially sweeten as the business matures.

We’ve already seen an example of this approach play out with Spark offering all its broadband subscribers free 12-month subscription to Lightbox back in 2015.

This move was, however, designed to promote awareness of SVOD and encourage New Zealanders to give it a go.

Stuff Pix enters a more established market, with New Zealand consumers more accustomed to streaming and choosing the services that appeal to them. The question now is whether viewers will be willing to give yet another streaming service space in their already cramped media-consumption schedules.

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