Will Foxtel Play evolve into Australia’s Sling TV?

By Jim O'Neill on Sep 07 2016 at 7:30 AM

Business models are an ongoing issue for pay-TV and OTT service providers, that are working to devise plans that better appeal to consumers than traditional ad-supported or subscription services have.

It remains a moving target, with more operators throwing any combination of hybrid models hoping to hit a bull’s-eye.

Enter Foxtel Play from Australian pay-TV operator Foxtel, a service with a monetization plan it calls “revolutionary,” with multiple low-cost entry points it says will compete well with SVOD services like Netflix.

From the sound of it, it looks a lot like Sling TV (and others) in the United States. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, in fact, it serves, perhaps, as validation for Sling TV, which reportedly has already grown to more than 750,000 subscribers, helping to reduce customer losses for parent Dish Network.

Foxtel CEO, Peter Tonagh, at the ASTRA’s 2016 conference for the pay-TV industry, said the new plan consists of five entry-level tiers, two of them drama focused, and one each that targets lifestyle programming, documentaries and kids’ programing. And, of course, movie and/or sports tiers can be added.

“Foxtel has been at the forefront of providing unrivalled entertainment to customers for more than 20 years,” Tonagh said. “Our new flexible pricing and delivery will mean that even more Australians will be able to design a subscription that works for them and once they experience what we have to offer, we’re confident they’ll be hungry for more.”

Foxtel Play will give users access to all linear channels in the tier along with all of the on-demand, catch up and library content available to that tier plus mobile access via Foxtel Go.

The service encourages consumers to use their own devices – like a smart TV or computer – and bandwidth.

Foxtel, in an effort to exert some control over delivery, and to place an anchor in customers’ homes, is also currently developing a new low-cost ‘puck’ set-top device to access its content. Foxtel promises a solid user interface, including top-tier search and recommendation.

Foxtel has been steadily growing its streaming service, adding new channels and content. But it, and many of its peers, are in a catfight with Netflix and, soon, Amazon (which is rumored to be launching in Oz in Q1 2017), among others, for subscribers.

Stay tuned.

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