Mi9 CEO: Australia will never have a unified catch-up TV service

Australia's catch-up break up to continue

It looks like Australians will not be getting a unified catch-up TV app for their free-to-air TV needs, with Nine Entertainment's Mi9 CEO saying that the space is too important for an industry-wide app.

In an interview with Mumbrella, Mi9 CEO Mark Britt said: "There has been a debate about an industry app, but we don't think that a broad generic industry app makes sense for this space."

Last year the Nine Entertainment had 16 viewable camera angles for the State of Origin last year, available for viewing through its catch-up app Jump-in.

Britt explained that this was only possible with "a level of investment in proprietary technology" that would not be available to an industry-wide app, which would be built on third party technology.

"This space is too important to rely on a generic third party application," he said.

Catch-up all over

While having network-run apps like ABC iview, Tenplay, SBS On Demand, Plus7, and Jump-in allow for opportunities to provide services beyond simple catch-up TV, especially with live programming like sporting events, it can become frustrating to jump between the five apps to catch up on your favourite free-to-air TV shows.

And while Britt doesn't believe there is space in Australia for a free ad-supported third-party app or service for catch-up TV, there are models that do work.

In the US, Hulu has deals in place with many of the broadcasting networks Stateside, and the free ad-based service provides catch-up access to currently running shows such as The Simpsons.

But for a service like that to operate in Australia, if would need to renegotiate global deals with Australian networks for content from the US and UK, and it would also need to cooperate with Aussie networks for homegrown shows as well.

So until services like Hulu are able to navigate the murky waters of Australian broadcasting, we'll be switching between at least five catch-up apps.

  • If you want a solid free-to-air PVR instead with some pay-TV services instead, check out our Fetch TV review