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With Netflix kicking down the door for affordable streaming prices in Australia, Foxtel is more desperate to woo new customers than ever. One of its chief carrots is the popular HBO series Game Of Thrones which remains exclusive to the pay TV network during its initial run. In a bid to entice fans of the show, Foxtel Play is knocking $20 off its monthly Premium Movies & Drama package — just in time for Game Of Thrones season five. The process is a bit finicky, however.
After years of speculation and months of hype, Netflix will officially be available in Australia from this Tuesday — and local pricing has finally been confirmed. One thing is evident even before it launches: Australian commercial TV networks are utterly panicked and have been scrambling to come up with a response.
One of the stranger features of the Australian TV landscape is the anti-siphoning rule: a list of key sporting events which free-to-air TV essentially has exclusive access to, blocking out pay TV platforms from bidding. Despite current plans to deregulate much of the local TV industry, the Federal Coalition government appears to have no plans to change that.
With Netflix, Stan and Presto Entertainment all set to launch in the early part of 2015, there’s a lot of focus on which shows will be available on each service. In that context, ratings data from 2014 provides a sobering reminder that when they pay for TV, Australian viewers care far more about sport than they do about drama or comedy.
Next year, Foxtel will once again be the only place to watch Game Of Thrones legally in Australia thanks to an extended partnership with HBO. (Boo!) For those who refuse to pirate, there is one small consolation: from today, Foxtel is dropping its subscription prices by as much as 50 per cent. It’s also adding some new channels, including the on-demand BoxSets. Here’s a recap of what’s new.
Foxtel is adding nine new entertainment, sports and educational channels to its HD lineup, bringing the total to 36. Customers with an IQ2 or MyStarHD set-top box will gain access to the new HD channels, including Arena, Fox Sports News, History and the Universal Channel. Having a social life is probably overrated.