Foxtel subscribers are about to get access to content from streaming giant Netflix through their IQ boxes as part of game-changing upgrade of the cable TV network.
Foxtel announced the changes on Wednesday, saying they would unite “two entertainment powerhouses”.
“We want our customers to have the best of TV and on demand in Australia all in one place,” Foxtel CEP Patrick Delaney said.
“I can’t think of a better streaming partner to kick off The New Foxtel Experience than Netflix.
“The new customer interface puts two entertainment powerhouses together.”
The deal, under which SBS content will also be integrated into Foxtel, was first rumoured more than a year ago.
Wednesday’s confirmation follows research from Roy Morgan that found 11.5 million Australians have a Netflix subscription – and about 5 million still have Foxtel.
Australian subscribers to Foxtel and Netflix
Roy Morgan chief executive Michele Levine said the deal “carries significant opportunities for both services”.
“Enabling the 5 million Australians with household access to Foxtel to view the streaming service through their Foxtel IQ box is a solid defensive measure to help prevent existing Foxtel subscribers ditching the service to move to cheaper alternatives and provides an extra incentive for new users to sign up for Foxtel,” she said.
“The proliferation of cheap streaming video services, led by Netflix, in recent years has provided the biggest challenge yet to Foxtel’s traditional business model and there are more cashed-up competitors on the way.”
Ms Levine said Netflix would benefit from “a frictionless option” to attract viewers who do not already use the streaming service: “An opportunity for growth in a market which may be reaching maturity”.
Netflix’s June quarter 2019 results had showed a net loss of subscribers in its home market of the US for the first time in eight years, she said.
Foxtel’s upgrade also includes a redesigned interface that simplifies discovering and navigating content. There’s also a new Foxtel remote – with a Netflix button.
“More than 1.1 million IQ3 and IQ4 set top boxes are already installed in our customers’ homes,” Mr Delaney said.
Netflix content will be progressively rolled out for customers with IQ4 boxes from Wednesday. The iQ3 roll out will begin in September and is expected to be complete in November.