How Quickflix NZ is getting on without HBO – CEO speaks
When Quickflix launched in New Zealand in March it lacked the wide range of programmes and TV shows expected from an apparently serious provider of on-demand content.
Six months later and not much has changed, which may be what is behind the Australian company's bid for new investment capital.
Last week the ASX-listed on-demand video supplier said it wanted to "accelerate subscriber growth through wider marketing channels and broader access to content from more working capital".
It wants more money.
CEO Chris Taylor told NBR ONLINE subscriber growth in New Zealand is "marginally ahead" of expectations, although he wouldn't say by how much.
However, he says the recent introduction of 300 hours of children's television has been a "tearaway" success.
"That's something we will invest more in. After the first week they were heavily featured in the top 30 programmes.
"We have a bunch more deals we are working through.
"As we move through this process of finding a strategic investor we will be ready to go and close a lot more deals with a broad range of providers," Mr Taylor says.
Part of Quickflix's problem is a lack of content deals, especially for television.
It can't offer programmes from the hugely-popular HBO – whose latest offerings include The Newsroom and Game of Thrones – because Sky TV has exclusive rights to those here.
It has a good selection of about 600 films but almost none of them are even remotely new.
The most recent one came out last year and it is called Happy Thank You More Please.
It wasn't a major release, in case you're wondering why you hadn't heard of it. Google it and learn the worst.
Quickflix's television cupboard is even more bare.
If you like British TV, such as Gavin & Stacey, Dr Who and Hornblower, you're in luck. But content from major US networks is severely lacking.
Mr Taylor says they are working on this.
"HBO is a tremendous provider of content but they're certainly not the only provider of content in the world.
"There are thousands of top-tier providers and we continue to talk with all of them."
He says the next step it introducing an Xbox service.
"That's coming up towards the end of the quarter. In terms of device deployment is a very substantial one for us."
It will launch its all-you-can-eat subscription service on Xbox first, with the pay-per-view offering to follow a couple of months later.
"The other one is Samsung TVs and Blue-rays. They have a huge presence in New Zealand."
Overall, most growth has been in the subscription service.
Pay-per-view uptake has been slow because it is confined to the web, but Mr Taylor says this is expected to improve once the service is available through Sony Bravia and Playstation devices.
Quickflix shares are trading at AU6.2 cents, down from a high of AU14 cents in February.