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.
From today, new customers can sign up to Foxtel's entry-level "Entertainment Pack" via cable or satellite for $25 per month on a 12-month contract. The Entertainment Pack boasts over 40 channels including FOX8, Lifestyle, TVH!TS, ARENA, MTV, National Geographic and Universal. This is a significant price drop compared to Foxtel's previous entry-level package, which cost $49 per month.
Foxtel has also lowered the price of its add-on channels. 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. The Kids General Entertainment pack has also received a new channel: Discovery Kids which focuses on Australian-produced content covering nature, science and technology, wildlife and creative arts.
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 instead.
Annoyingly, HD content still attracts a $10 monthly premium. While this grates, Foxtel did recently add nine new channels to its HD lineup; including Arena, Fox Sports News, History and the Universal Channel.
If you're already on a Foxtel contract, you're not getting completely shafted -- most subscribers will be given free access to all general entertainment channels, while Premium Movies and Drama customers will receive a handful of free pay-per-view movies each month. Essentials customers also get free access to the HBO channel showcase which runs Game Of Thrones.
Here’s a full list of the pricing and the channels on offer. (Click to enlarge.)
“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,” Foxtel's chief executive Richard Freudenstein explained in a statement. “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 is certainly a better proposition than Foxtel's old pricing model but it's not exactly cheap either: grabbing a basic subscription with Game Of Thrones still costs $45 a month, while getting everything will set you back more than $1600 over a one-year contract.
Do you think Foxtel's revised pricing is fair, or should it be even lower? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.