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    Hubbl in market: Is the ‘quantum leap in entertainment tech’ living up to the hype?

     There was plenty of hype when Hubbl was first revealed in late 2023. “Hubbl is like nothing in the market – it is TV and streaming made easy” was the promise.

    The device was later launched in February this year and hit retail stores in March.

    The message to potential customers continued to be bold: “Hubbl is the next quantum leap in entertainment technology. It is the solution to a complex Australian streaming landscape caused by the fabulous explosion of choice in streaming services available to Australians.”

    To investigate the initial market reaction, Mediaweek spoke with the executive charged with running the Hubbl business, managing director Les Wigan. Wigan has been with the Foxtel Group for a decade. He’s been with News Corp for much longer including a tour of duty at Sky UK. He has worked on streaming businesses for some time. He was part of the teams that built and launched Kayo and then Binge.

    Hubbl in market: Is the ‘quantum leap in entertainment tech’ living up to the hype?

    Hubbl managing director Les Wigan

    “It’s going well, we are very happy. But it’s still early days,” said Wigan. “Australians only discovered Hubbl on March 11 when we launched. The feedback on the ad campaign has been very positive.”

    The ad campaign was created by Sydney agency JOY. The agency and Hubbl decided to invest in the highest-profile entertainment duo in Australia.

    Hamish and Andy were a great choice in terms of being trusted people who can really bring to life what Hubbl is about.

    “Research testing we have done has been positive. Consumers who are starting to use the product are engaging with it.

    “Having launched a few different products over the years – Kayo and Binge – the early signs are very positive. People who launch it are using it. Not just turning it on and then turning it off.

    He indicated Hubbl is at the start of a long journey. “It is now about building Hubbl awareness. It was pretty much a secret until we launched last month. There is an awareness piece and an education piece. We have always understood that, and something we experienced with Kayo and Binge as well. It’s not that people know what the products are straight away.”

    See also: ‘Hubbl and Andy’ star in Foxtel tech’s launch campaign

    There’s no content with Hubbl…or is there?

    Although there is a perception that Hubbl comes without content, that’s not strictly true. “The fact we have built in the free-to-air platforms means there is an amount of content available,” Wigan corrected.

    “While the service is centred around subscription services, there is a lot of FTA content. The way we have built the TV guide, whether you have an aerial or not, means people can easily search across platforms. I’ve had people telling me they have found shows on SBS and ABC because we profile FTA content on the channel guide.”

    In addition to the FTA content, there is now are growing library of Kayo Freebies content available. A user needs a registered Hubbl device for that, but not a paid subscription.

    “It’s also a great way to upgrade your TV experience. You can take the little Hubbl puck, plug it in and it reinvents your TV,” Wigan added.

    Hamish and Andy at the launch of Hubbl

    Hamish and Andy as product testers

    Wigan said Hamish and Andy didn’t just sign on as spokespeople. They have been on a Hubbl journey.

    We originally sent Hamish and Andy a very basic beta product a number of months before we were ready to launch. They were using the product and wanted a sense of the experience before they got behind it. They gave us feedback as well.”

    Hubbl roadmap

    Wigan said one of the reasons that Hubbl partnered with Sky and Comcast is their tech ability.

    “They have a huge engineering capability and we have a view of their roadmap for the next couple of years.

    “We will have more apps coming soon. Stan and Paramount+ will be next to launch. We are also working with Optus to have Optus Sport up and running.”

    Wigan said there is no date yet for viewers wanting Premier League on Hubbl. With the current season ending shortly, Wigan indicated an Optus Sport subscription will be available prior to the start of the 2024/25 Premier League season.

    New Hubbl features coming will include enhanced personalisation. “With up to 18 apps on the platform, personalisation becomes important,” said Wigan.

    “Now we are starting to get a significant number of users on the platform we can access the data to see what they are doing. We can then start to deliver more content they can engage with.

    “We did something similar with Kayo Sports. When we launched we didn’t turn on personalisation straight away.”

    Users can expect operational enhancements to Hubbl at least twice a year.

    See also: Hubbl – Insider’s guide to new streaming management device

    Hubbl

    Hubbl Glass, the puck and the remote control

    Subscription savings

    In addition to Hubbl managing third-party subscriptions, Hubbl also wants to encourage use of Kay Sports, Binge, Flash and the new Lifestyle app.

    Wigan: “Stack and Save is what we are calling the way people can manage subscriptions and save money.”

    For example, if a subscriber took all four of those plus Netflix, there would be a saving of $15 off the monthly subscription fee. “It’s about giving consumers a reason to stay with those products. At a time when people are looking to save, Hubbl gives them an option plus, as we previously mentioned, an upgrade to the TV.”

    Hubbl users can opt for ad-free tiers to make an extra saving.

    Glass takes Hubbl to the next level

    Hubbl Glass will appeal to a smaller market than the Hubbl puck. Wigan said: “The simplicity of Hubbl Glass is very nice. It has a nice premium feel and comes with built-in surround sound. It’s a brilliant plug-and-play option with one remote and one plug. The operating system automatically updates.”

    Most content on Hubbl Glass will look pretty good. Although Wigan noted they can only rebroadcast whatever the quality of the image they received from third-party partners.

    See also: Hubbl: The CEO interview – Patrick Delany on why you need this streaming device

    The post Hubbl in market: Is the ‘quantum leap in entertainment tech’ living up to the hype? appeared first on Mediaweek.

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