Foxtel has announced an aggressive new pricing strategy that will see subscription prices drop by as much as 50 per cent in November. The major pricing revamp coincides with a new IQ3 video recorder and the announcement of a “triple play” bundle that will combine television, broadband and home phone services into a single package. Here's an overview of the new packages and services.
Foxtel picture from The Ink Project
Starting from November, new Foxtel customers will be able to sign up for a 12-month Entertainment Pack via Foxtel cable or satellite for $25 per month. (By contrast, the equivalent Essentials package cost $49 per month.) The new Entertainment Pack boasts over 40 channels including FOX8, Lifestyle, TVH!TS, ARENA, MTV, National Geographic and Universal.
Foxtel has also lowered the pricing of its premium add-on tiers. The Movies pack now costs $20 per month, the Sports Pack $25 per month and the Drama Pack $20 per month. The Entertainment Plus, Docos and Kids packs are all priced at $10 per month. There’s also a new BoxSets channel in the Drama Pack, which provides access to every episode of past series from Foxtel’s most popular dramas, including Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, The Newsroom, Entourage and Band of Brothers.
On the downside, some channels have been removed from the basic Entertainment package, including kiddie essentials like the Cartoon Network, Disney Channel and Nickelodeon. These have all been moved to the aforementioned Kids pack, although the basic package now comes with Disney Junior and Nick Jr, which we suppose is better than nothing. While we're grumbling, there's also a monthly premium of $10 for HD content. Tch.
In addition to courting new customers, Foxtel is looking to keep its existing install base sweet -- most subscribers will now be given free access to all general entertainment channels, while Premium Movies and Drama customers will receive “some” pay-per-view movies free of charge each month. Essentials customers will also get free access to the HBO channel showcase.
Chief executive Richard Freudenstein said that the new packages raised the bar in giving customers maximum value for their subscriptions, with the company anticipating an influx of fresh signups thanks to the more accessible pricing.
“We know that many Australians are aware of the amazing content and technology that Foxtel offers but feel that the price is not right for their budget,” Freudenstein said. “A $25 entry point that gives access to over 40 popular channels in our Entertainment Pack will cause millions of people to have another look at Foxtel,”
Later this year, Foxtel subscribers will also receive the latest iteration of the IQ video recorder, which is in the final stages of testing. The IQ3 purportedly comes with an improved electronic program guide, advanced search and recommendation functionality and the ability to automatically restart programs if you switch on partway through.
Foxtel also officially confirmed that it will be bringing a bundled television, broadband and home phone package to Australia in the first quarter of 2015. No pricing has been announced yet, but this is definitely something to keep an eye on if you’re a fan of pay TV.
This dramatic price drop would seem to vindicate piracy apologists who have long argued that Foxtel’s pricing is unreasonably high; especially when compared to similar services overseas. On the other hand, it's still not exactly what we'd call affordable. For example, if you want to get HBO and some decent kids' channels, you're still looking at a pretty steep $55 per month.
It will be interesting to see how many illegal torrent users put their money where their mouth is and sign up to one of Foxtel's cheaper packages. We’re guessing not many. In any event, we're keen to hear what you guys think. Is Foxtel's revised pricing fair, or could it be even lower? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.