Australian pay TV provider Foxtel is waging an all-out war on US subscription video on demand (SVOD) service Netflix for dominance of the Australian streaming media market.
In a bid to lure more eyeballs and dollars to the service, Foxtel has made a number of bold moves: inking an exclusive deal for all content from US cable TV giant HBO (maker of Game of Thrones), developing its own unique Australian content, launching a dedicated ‘binge’ watching channel and signalling a price drop on the horizon for its own standalone streaming media service, Foxtel Play.
Considering a recent Roy Morgan survey of 1.4 million Australians revealed 50 per cent of homes have one or more SVOD services, with the total number now overtaking Foxtel cable subscribers, we are clearly on the brink of an Australian streaming media war.
The home of HBO
Successive exclusivity deals with HBO have earned Foxtel the reputation as the home of HBO within Australia, offering Australians hot programs like Game of Thrones, True Detective, Veep and Girls.
Keep an eye out for another major drawcard, new HBO series Westworld, premiering on October 3.
Watch the trailer for Westworld:
A new ‘box set’ channel – named Binge in an effort to lure Netflix addicts – Foxtel subscribers will now get to feast on complete seasons of pop culture hits like Supergirl, DC’s Legends of Tomorrow, Scandal, The Good Wife, True Blood, The Flash and Arrow.
To top this off, Foxtel also recently gave the green light to begin filming the new Australian premium drama Picnic at Hanging Rock, based on the Australian novel by Joan Lindsay.
A collaboration with Fremantle Media (Mr & Mrs Murder, Wentworth), the six-part mini-series will premiere on Foxtel’s Showcase channel in 2017.
In a clear bid to attract a younger demographic, subscribers to Foxtel’s entertainment package now have access to NBC Universal’s streaming service Hayu, which exclusively features reality shows like Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
A cunning Play
Whereas Foxtel cable TV is a contract service requiring installation, Foxtel Play is a no-contract streaming media service that gives customers access to a variety of movies and TV. Basically, it functions the same as Netflix, Stan or Quickflix.
At present, pricing begins at $25 per month for a basic package, and extends up to $110 per month for the complete roster of Drama, Kids, Documentaries or Entertainment packages, plus extra Entertainment and Sports packs, as well as three English football channels.
The standout here for many Australians is the addition of sporting content, which no other streaming media service currently offers, aside from sports documentaries.
In a move that signals awareness of the current market, Foxtel Play has announced new pricing structures will be announced at the end of this year, bringing the service in line with its competitors: Netflix, Stan, Quickflix and Presto (Foxtel’s current joint venture with Seven West Media) all start at the $10-per-month mark.
With Seven West Media’s Presto partnership still under negotiation, the time is right for Foxtel to consolidate its many media streaming services in order to secure a greater stake in the Australian media market.