Foxtel to ramp up local commissions

18 November, 2014 by Don Groves

After slashing subscription fees by as much as 50%, Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein today flagged a much greater investment in local programming next year..

Speaking at the Screen Forever conference he confirmed TV programming will be added to the SVoD movies service Presto, but he would not be drawn on when that will happen or on the film/TV pricing structure.


He conceded “we got it wrong” initially with Presto by making the monthly fee- $25- too expensive and by not offering TV series.

Presto charges $10 per month to compete with Quckflix, the upcoming Nine Entertainment/Fairfax streaming service monikered Stan, and Netflix, which is expected to launch here in late March or early April

He said the TV content will include second-run series from HBO and other HBO shows that are not presently screened in Australia.

While he acknowledged Stan will be a competitive offering, he confessed, “I don’t get the name.”

Freudenstein made it clear he is convinced investing in more Australian content will attract subscribers.“We will invest even more in Australian content across a range of genres,” he said.

Drama will be a priority as Foxtel will schedule four in 2015: Deadline: Gallipoli, The Kettering Incident, Wentworth and another whose title is yet to be revealed.

He identified the other drivers of growth as the much-enhanced PVR dubbed IQ3 and the triple play of telephony, broadband and pay TV which Foxtel and 50% shareholder Telstra will launch early next year.

In an upbeat presentation, he said the repricing and repacking initiative including BoxSets introduced on November 3 had attracted new subscribers at the $25 per month entry fee as well as encouraging existing customers to upgrade to the more costly tiers.

He admitted slashing the sub fees is a risk, saying, “If we get it wrong revenues will be reduced by quite a lot. But it looks like playing out very well. We are happy with the new sales and not many customers have moved to the new (cheaper) prices.”