EXCLUSIVE: Foxtel defends dramatic price increases for Foxtel Now
In a surprise move, Foxtel has stunned consumers by releasing a new pricing structure for its Foxtel Now streaming service, with customers now expected to pay significantly more for premium content.
When Foxtel launched the ‘Now’ streaming service under then CEO Richard Tonagh in June 2017, the vision sold to consumers was a “flexible and affordable entertainment service”.
Foxtel Now was to be the pay-tv giant’s method of suppling a low-cost alternative and targeting a younger audience who were more likely to spend their dollars on streaming players such as Netflix and Stan.
Well a lot has changed in 15 months. Richard Tonagh is gone, replaced by Patrick Delany from Fox Sports, and the focus of the business has changed with it. The preference now is to sell premium content at a premium price.
With Foxtel expected to launch new stand-alone streaming products focused on Sport, Drama and Movies in coming months, the focus is no longer on promoting Foxtel Now as a separate business, instead its pricing has been moved more in-line with the traditional business.
Under the changes, initially revealed by Trevor Long at EFTM, new customers will now need to subscribe to a $25 Pop/Lifestyle starter package, before they can add any other premium packages such as Sport, Movies or Drama. All of the previous $10 and $15 starter packs are now unavailable.
The new Pop/Lifestyle starter package is made up of 21 channels including FoxShowcase, Fox8, Comedy Channel, MTV, 111Funny, Arena, Lifestyle, Lifestyle Food, Lifestyle Home, E!, TLC and various Sky News channels.
A spokesperson for Foxtel explained the changes telling DeciderTV, “the combined Pop + Lifestyle entry pack help simplify our offering and give customers a wider selection of content at entry, which includes Foxtel originals, showcase and Arena”.
All of this means the cheapest option to access the sports package via Foxtel Now has increased from $39 to $54. (Pop/Lifestyle $25 + Sport $29). Foxtel is hoping the addition of a new cricket channel will lead to an increase in subscribers over the summer months.
Game of Thrones fans who cancelled their service during the long wait between seasons will now be greeted by a $10 price increase when they seek to reconnect for new episodes.
Even more surprising, the Kids package which was previously available as a stand-alone starter option for $10 per month, can now only be purchased as part of the platinum package at a price of $104 per month. The Kids package is made up of 9 channels and includes programming from Nickelodeon, Disney, BBC, and Discovery
The move is clearly designed to bring Foxtel Now much more into line with the existing pricing struture, a Foxtel spokesperson telling DeciderTV the changes were a “respond to the evidence that our customers are expecting a pay TV service with a diverse and high-quality range of content rather than a streaming service.”
“We believe this offer more accurately reflects how our customers are choosing to use our service.”
The price changes are for new and returning customers. Foxtel is promising currently subscribed customers will be unaffected unless they cancel and re-join at a later date. Existing customers on the old pricing model will be able to change their current package without being moved to the new pricing structure.