Flash news streaming services arrives

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A world-first streaming service that will house more than 20 local and international news channels under the one banner will make the traditional 6pm news a thing of the past.

A world-first streaming service that will house more than 20 local and international news channels under the one banner will make the traditional 6pm news a thing of the past, according to the boss of the new venture.

The Foxtel-owned aggregation platform Flash will be available for subscribers to stream as of Thursday, and will feature news, business, finance, entertainment and sports coverage — as well as opinion — from some of the world media’s most respected sources including BBC World News, Bloomberg TV, CNN International, FOX News Channel, France 24, Al Jazeera and Sky News Australia.

At the launch of Flash on Wednesday, executive director of the new streaming service, Kate De Brito, said the platform will deliver a “genuine diversity” of news, opinion and perspective, and will allow viewers to consume news at a time of their choice, and from their preferred source, “whether your politics are progressive, in the centre, or conservative”.

“No longer do Australians need to hunt and gather for their news — the days of waiting to watch the evening news bulletin at 6pm are over,” Ms De Brito said.

“People want news … when they want it, not when it’s served up to them.”

Additional local and international news partners will be announced in the coming months, Ms De Brito said. The ABC is one of the local news partners which is still in negotiations with Flash, The Australian understands.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said Foxtel had shown “relentless innovation in developing new products”, and he expected Flash to quickly establish itself as a “significant place in the news market in Australia”.

“I think we’re going to see many people become used to going to Flash as a place where you can get perspectives and information on both national and global developments from some of the world’s leading news organisations,” he said.

Flash chief executive officer Julian Ogrin said the new service will be available for subscribers to stream across multiple devices including mobile phones, tablets, PCs and TVs, and will change the news experience for the “streaming generation”.

“Currently, 70 per cent of Australian households have a streaming product … a number that will increase to 85 per cent by 2023. This is higher for Gen Z and Millennials” he said.

Flash director of product Brian Lenz said the news sources that feature on the platform were identified as trusted media outlets that share a commitment to guarding against the spread of misinformation.

Foxtel’s launch of Flash comes after the success of its other popular streaming services including Kayo Sports in late 2018, which now has 1.05 million subscribers, while entertainment platform Binge launched in May 2020 and has 773,000 subscribers.

News Corp (publisher of The Australian) has a 65 per cent stake in Foxtel; the remaining 35 per cent is owned by Telstra.

Flash, which will cost $8 a month, will be available from 10am AEDT on Thursday.