A Foxtel special offer that gives consumers sport and lifestyle channels for $10 a week is all down to the collapse of video streaming service Presto, a media expert says.
The pay TV giant unveiled its ‘Full on Footy Pass’ offer on Tuesday, which includes coverage of the upcoming AFL and NRL seasons, Formula One, European soccer and the NBA, and lifestyle channels Arena, E!, Lifestyle Food and Lifestyle Home.
It comes with no fees for installation, as Foxtel Play operates through smart TVs, gaming consoles, tablets and phones, and represents an annual saving of more than $260 on Foxtel’s cheapest television package that includes the sports channels and installation.
“Foxtel is continuing to make great content, including sport, more accessible to customers,” a spokesperson for the organisation told The New Daily.
The deal is for 12 months at $10 a week, a minimum of $520 a year, but rises after that, to $28 a month for a newspaper subscription it is bundled with, plus normal fees (currently $39 a month for Sport + Lifestyle) on Foxtel Play.
Foxtel decided to kill off Presto, which it owned, in October last year, with the subscription video-on-demand service plagued by technical difficulties since launch.
Media expert, Associate Professor Brett Hutchins from Monash University, says the cheap pass is all about getting people on board with Foxtel Play.
“It’s tied into the shut down of Presto – this is a play to set up a strong customer base for Foxtel Play,” he told The New Daily.
“There’s so many streaming services out there but one thing they can bring is live sports content – Foxtel have had always that and it’s hard to get elsewhere.
“Sports content brings advertising [but] I can’t see how they’ll be making money out of this.”
Hutchins said that Foxtel’s business model has had to significantly adapt given the arrival, and success, of services like Netflix and Stan.
“There’s been a great change to the television consumption habits of Australians,” he said.
“People are increasingly going to the internet for TV – but live sport is one thing they struggle to get.
“The days of the [television] package going up to $120 [a month] are long gone. People want to pick and choose what they watch.
“So this move is about creating audience habits for the future.”
So, how does it work?
The deal, which runs until April 15, requires consumers to sign up for a digital newspaper subscription first.
Then they get a code, to be used when signing up with Foxtel Play.
Foxtel Play is viewable through compatible Samsung, Sony and LG Smart TVs, the Xbox One, PlayStation 3 & 4, selected Samsung Blu-Ray and home theatre systems, PC and Mac computers, and Telstra TV.
It can also be accessed on smartphones and tablets through the Foxtel Go app.
But consumers can’t connect their laptop to a TV and watch Foxtel Play – something you can do with Netflix.
And while Foxtel Play “do not hold customers to an early termination fee”, because the subscription is tied in with the newspaper deal, if you cancel that, you also end your Foxtel Play deal.
Don’t want the digital subscription – or to be locked in?
If consumers are just interested in sports content from Foxtel, they could bypass the newspaper subscription and join Foxtel Play.
The sports package (at $29 per month) is not available on its own, meaning the cheapest it can be bought at is $39 per month.
But at $39 per month, it could be paired with one package from Foxtel’s Entertainment, Drama, Lifestyle or Movies offering, and could be cancelled at any time.