Foxtel repackages and reprices
Foxtel is aggressively slashing its prices and repacking its content to try to boost near-stagnant subscriber levels.
Starting in November, the entry level fee will be $25 per month, a 50% reduction, although the basic pack will no longer include Disney, Nickelodeon, FX and Lifestyle You. The price for most other tiers will drop by about one third.
Platinum subscribers will continue to pay $134 per month so the new pricing structure clearly is pitched at non-subscribers and to encourage those on the cheapest packages to up-scale.
A new entertainment tier comprising more than 40 channels including FOX8, Lifestyle, TVH!TS, Arena, MTV, National Geographic, Universal and TCM will be priced at $25 per month.
The sports package will remain at $25 but customers who take the entertainment pack and sport will pay just $50 (currently $74) .
A new drama pack including showcase, BBC First, FX, 13th Street , a new BoxSets channel and VoD will cost $20 on top of the entertainment pack. The movie channels will cost $20.
“We recognise that many Australians feel that Foxtel is too expensive to fit comfortably into their budget,” Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein told the ASTRA conference today. “They know that we offer fantastic content but they just don’t feel they can stretch their finances to afford it.”
The pay-TV penetration rate has been stuck at around 30% since 2008. The number of Foxtel subscribers improved by 5.6% to 2.6 million in the year to June 30. The average revenue per subscriber per month was $96, up 1%, among the highest of any pay-TV platform in the world.
Foxtel’s operating income after depreciation and amortization was $554 million, up from $491 million the prior year.
Launching on November 3 as part of the drama pack, Foxtel BoxSets will offer live and anytime access to complete seasons of shows including Game of Thrones, The Sopranos, Big Love,The Newsroom, Rome, Entourage and Wentworth.
Foxtel is adding nine channels to its HD pack, Arena, Universal, 13th Street, History, World Movies, Fox Sports News, Eurosport, Fox Sports 4 and BoxSets, bringing the HD channel count to 36.
Three general entertainment packs- entertainment plus, docos and kids including the new Discovery Kids channel- will each cost $10 per month.
For the first time platinum subscribers will get two free PPV movies per month and premium movies and drama subscribers will get one per month.
The company confirmed that its new set top box, the iQ3, is in final field trials and would be available to customers later this year.
The iQ3 will have an improved EPG, sophisticated search and recommendation functionality, more recording capacity, Wi-fi connectivity and the ability to 'start over' at the beginning of a program when viewers tune in part way through.
Foxtel also announced that its triple-play proposition of TV, broadband and home phone will roll out in the first quarter of 2015.
“The changes we are announcing today constitute a defining moment in Australian media. With amazing bonuses for current customers, new pricing designed to make Foxtel more accessible and with iQ3 and triple-play just around the corner, the time has never been better to take advantage of this golden age of television through Foxtel,” Freudenstein said.