Brollie streaming platform launches - and it's free
Brollie brings Australian content into the spotlight
In the world of streaming entertainment, Australian content is often a tacked-on afterthought, something you might come across if you really search.
But for the latest entrant into the ever-expanding Broadcast Video On Demand (BVOD) arena, it's the complete opposite.
Brollie, the streaming service launched by Umbrella Entertainment will feature Australian content front and centre, with hundreds of feature films, series, specials and more.
And better, there's no sign-up fee.
"The idea for Brollie came about during the COVID lockdowns," says Umbrella Entertainment CEO Ari Harrison.
"Everybody was at home watching content, but they couldn't find how to access and enjoy some of the classic Australian films and TV Shows on platforms!"
Accessing the vast library of Umbrella, which has been distributing or making Australian entertainment since 2001, Brollie will launch with 350 films and TV Shows, with a deliberate cap on what is available.
"We aim to limit the amount of content on the platform at any given time," Mr Harrison says.
"We want the lists to feel fresh every time you visit by adding more titles and cycling out older ones.
"We want to stop the scroll fatigue that you find with thousands of films on current streamers."
While there's no cost to join to access content, this is, like many other entrants into the streaming arena, ad-supported.
"We had no interest in competing with the giants of Netflix, Paramount and Amazon, so we knew it had to be free to gain an audience," Mr Harrison says.
"Yes, there are ads, but they are limited. We have looked a similar ad-based streaming platforms in Australia and halved the amount of ads that they have for Brollie.
"The focus was on accessibility for new and older audiences to find this content and bring some of these incredible films back to the forefront."
Unlike other offerings, the focus here is very much on Australia, with a First Nations showcase section highlighting (for example) the work of multi-award-winning actor David Gulpilil, an Aussie Nightmares horror collection, "Ozspoiltation" genre classics and "Film Club" suggesting lesser-known movies with interviews (often with young Australian actors who went on to greater things, including Hugh Jackman, Heath Ledger and Nicole Kidman) behind the scenes footage, deleted scenes and commentaries.
In the mix so far are fan favourites, classics and cult icons including Two Hands, Road Games, Razorback, Malcolm, The Big Steal, Stone, The Man From Hong Kong, Breaker Morant, Storm Boy, The Last Wave, Suspiria, Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Re-Animator, Hellraiser, Bad Boy Bubby, Mad Dog Morgan, The Babadook, Super Mario Bros, Heathers, The Love Witch, Another Round and more.
"It's the largest library of independent Australian film in the world and it will continue to grow over the coming months," Mr Harrison says.
At a time when super streamers like Netflix are tweaking their subscription deals to make sure any possible income stream is explored, the return to ad-supported content has suddenly become more popular.
It's what drives the second-tier free-to-air channel including 9Go, TenPlay and SBS On Demand, and is now being adopted more widely.
Internationally (and soon in Australia), major services such as Xumo, Sling and Amazon's Freevee and more are making huge inroads into broadcasting by forming alliances with program producers, then streaming their content with ads to recoup the costs.
Existing streamers such as brand leader Netflix already offer a cheaper "ad tier" option in Australia, something that will increasingly become the norm - Paramount+ for example, recently confirmed it would roll out its advertising option sometime in 2024.
Which means viewers will be back to a viewing experience pretty much like what the free-to-air networks did for years before streaming services started charging for subscriptions and cut out the ads.
The irony is lost on no one, but until the next wave of entertainment and with cost of living pressures in mind, expect ad-supported streaming to boom.
Stream for free
Here's five ad-supported platforms to stream for free
Blending your paid subscription services with free (usually ad-supported) platforms this is a great way to source a huge library. Brace yourself for scrolling.
Leaning more toward classic or hard-to-find films, Tubi is the place to find those films you watched in the 1990s on VHS and have never been able to see since.
Films, TV, books, audiobooks, comics and more, all you need is a library card to access a worldwide library filled with options the major streamers bypass.
Perfect for lovers of Asian film and television, Viki offers a huge range of entertainment, including a lot of exclusives created for the site.
Set up to be a safe place for young viewers, Kidoodle feaures more than 45,000 episode of television of film, curated for kids. Choose the "freemium" option to avoid subscribing.
Get stories like this in our newsletters.