RIGHT OF REPLY: Presto

Just not too MUCH more...

Just not too MUCH more…

YOU may recall that the other day I wrote a blog comparing the services offered by television/movie/Netflix alternatives Stan and Presto, based on my own personal experiences.

While I said that I enjoyed both, I suggested that, if faced with a choice between the two, if you’re like me you should probably go with Stan.

As always seems to be the case when I review things online, someone has gone to the lengths to respond to my personal opinion, no doubt under the impression that my audience numbers in the hundreds or thousands. Naturally, it was Presto. I wonder why…

They (read: Presto’s current head of Public Relations Michael Morcos) countered some of the things I said in my blog, and I’d like to share their response with you now, as I believe that they have the right to reply.

So sorry to hear you’ve been having some minor issues with the service. Should you wish to have us troubleshoot these for you, please let me know and I will get one of our senior customer service representatives to assist.

 These ‘minor’ issues were my main sticking point, in that the Presto PS3 client regularly crashes, requires repeated log-ins and forgets where you’re up to. If anything, it was these factors that were the most significant in my recommendation of Stan, which has none of these problems. I’m pretty sure the experience I’ve been having isn’t unique to me, but most likely all people who’ve tried to view Presto on a console – but at least they’re only minor.

I just wanted to clarify that Presto is committed to local commissions of exclusive and original content, and that we actually do have original content available. Not sure if you’re aware, but we have an exclusive series called LET’S TALK ABOUT IT which was released last year, the first series made for a streaming service in Australia.

This was news to me, because surprisingly, in my time with Presto (actually a few months longer than Stan, but as you know I’m not one for specifics), I’ve never seen it promoted by Presto as a featured program. Obviously I wasn’t aware, otherwise I would have said something. For such a landmark program, though, you would think they’d be making every endeavour to promote it instead of directing us to a plethora of American content.

Upon further investigation, this exclusive series consists of ten episodes that are FOUR TO SIX MINUTES IN LENGTH EACH. The entire series runs for the same time, or less, than the first episode of Stan’s original Wolf Creek series. I’d hardly call it a series, at least comparable to full-length content, but hey, so long as you can say you were the first. I wonder why people keep missing it?

We also produced and commissioned an exclusive Home and Away special event called AN EYE FOR AN EYE, which was made exclusively for Presto and is an extension of the Home and Away brand as a special, standalone, feature-length special event. We also announced two new Home and Away special event commissions, completing these as a trilogy.

I’d already made a disparaging joke about Home and Away in the original post, so why they think this would be a point I would take an interest in is beyond me. You’re not hiring new writers, new actors or coming up with an original production. You’re working within an existing framework and sharing costs, targeting an already existent viewership with the same old tripe.

So you’ve got 40 minutes worth of one show and a ‘trilogy’ of Home and Away. Congrats. You’ve totally changed my mind.

We also have other original projects in development that we will release details of soon.

Yeah, like a feature-length ‘Packed to the Rafters’ special, no doubt…

We also have a huge range of exclusive content, shows that are only available to stream on Presto. These include AQUARIUS, MR ROBOT… etc. Shows you won’t find anywhere else.

In my post I declared no winner in regards to content, and indicated that it was very much a matter of personal taste. I still stand by that. In fact, I’m even keen to watch Mr Robot. In Presto’s defence they also have a bunch of HBO content (no Game of Thrones though), which is great – if you can watch it without it crashing.

Finally I just wanted to clarify that we also have variable streaming capabilities. This is something we’ve always offered on mobile and tablet devices under the setting options… Not sure what service is monitoring your usage or how you are playing your content, but streaming a half-hour episode on Presto shouldn’t use over a gigabyte of data.

Not sure? I clearly explained how I view these streaming services from the outset – on my console, but thanks for paying attention. Offering variable streaming rates on a mobile or tablet app is definitely a good way to go, as people would otherwise be chewing through data that is most likely provided by a telco, but Stan offers it not just on a console, but within the stream itself as opposed to in an external menu.

As for the file sizes, I have very specific memories of – upon first getting Presto – marvelling at the truly massive size of files. Alas, I can’t substantiate such a claim at the moment because, despite trying for the better part of two days, the Presto PS3 client currently refuses to connect AT ALL, so I can’t watch any of these remarkable shows that Presto has on offer.

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Thank God it’s only a minor problem. I’d hate to see what the big ones look like.

UPDATE: After nearly 48 hours without service, Presto finally decided to connect again late last night, and I took this photo. A 20 MINUTE episode of 30 Rock (another great show on Presto) is 940 MEGABYTES. Irrespective of the difference between a 20 and 30 minute program, that’s huge. You probably should have looked into that? I agree that a half hour program shouldn’t use over a gig, but it obviously does.

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I just want to reiterate that, as I mentioned in the original post, I don’t hate Presto, and I’ve enjoyed plenty of what it has to offer.

I fully believe that anyone who is subject to review should also have the right to reply, and Presto fully utilised it. Unfortunately for them, they haven’t just failed to sell me on any additional virtues of their service, they’ve pushed me further away. The fact that I spent two days trying to connect through my PS3 to no avail is a truly poetic coincidence, particularly when Stan and Netflix each worked immediately. If the problems continue for much longer, I’ll be closing my account.

It’s nice to know that their head of PR has the time to respond almost immediately to a blog post, but after months they still can’t get their actual service provision right.

I stand by my original comments, more now than I did at the time of the original post. If presented with a choice between Presto and Stan, go with the latter – but hey, each to their own.

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