Life Tech Loyalty programs are Foxtel’s frantic bid to fend off streaming giants

Loyalty programs are Foxtel’s frantic bid to fend off streaming giants

Foxtel Sport
Foxtel's strongest customer cohort is its sports base, and the new loyalty program looks squarely to reward them. Photo: Getty
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Foxtel has announced another incentive to customers as it moves to protect itself against the ongoing onslaught of streaming services stepping into Australia’s media ring.

The pay-TV stalwart will now offer a loyalty program – Foxtel First – with rewards to be dished out to customers on a four-tier platform.

It’s likely the Murdoch-owned platform has introduced the program as a please-don’t-leave-us gift, rather than a way to attract new customers, industry experts say.

For those who believe in coincidences, Apple TV+ starts streaming in Australia this week, and Disney Plus arrives mid-November.

It’s no wonder Foxtel is scrambling to try and hold onto the customers it does have in the face of even more competition: the latest subscription TV numbers from Roy Morgan show of the 13.3 million Australians who use a streaming platform, 11.5 million have Netflix, compared to 5 million who have Foxtel.

Victoria University screen media senior lecturer Marc C-Scott (who is one of the 5 million) said Australians will soon have more access to streaming services than ever before.

He’s not surprised Foxtel is trying everything it can to hold on to its customer base, and referenced the deal they announced with Netflix a couple of months ago.

Foxtel has begun integrating Netflix into its interface, and offered a free six-month Netflix subscription to customers. Photo: Foxtel

The loyalty program “isn’t something that’s going to draw new customers,” Dr C-Scott told The New Daily.

“It’s more to hold on to the customers they already have, they’re scared of them moving across to streaming services.”

Dr C-Scott said Foxtel seemed to be angling particularly towards its sporting cohort, because that’s still where it had the strongest loyalty base.

Who gets what

Speaking as a Foxtel customer, Dr C-Scott said he wasn’t particularly impressed by what the program would be netting him.

Here’s how those tiers will work: if you’re a customer for up to three years, you’re a bronze customer. You’ll get access to mostly experienced-based things, like tickets to sporting events and cinema passes. You can also enter to win packages (accommodation, flights and upper-level entry) to things like Sea World.

If you’ve been signed up for between three and eight years, congratulations, you’re silver. As well as the bronze goodies, you get early bird viewing access to certain movies and TV shows.

Gold (eight to 15 years) members get the previous two, plus a free multiroom set up and a half-priced iQ4 upgrade. (The iQ4 is the set-up box that runs Foxtel through a television.)

Those who’ve racked up 15-plus years are diamond members and get a free iQ4, priority service and a free home move.

For now, it won’t be blessing customers who have Foxtel Now or who access Foxtel via Telstra.

Stan’s Aussie focus

RMIT University media specialists Ramon Lobato and Alexa Scarlata on Wednesday released their latest research into the amount of Australian content available on streaming platforms.

They found Stan had the highest proportion of Aussie content at 9 per cent of all offerings, followed by Netflix at 1.7 per cent.

Surprisingly, they wrote in The Conversation, Amazon Prime Video offered 400-plus Australian titles, but it didn’t offer the same sort of straight-forward access to find them as the other two.

They similarly predict the streaming landscape will be jilted again by the arrival of Apple and Disney, but it won’t have much effect on the production of more Australian content.

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