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​Foxtel cuts prices, adds channels, announces IQ3

Australia's pay TV provider has announced a major restructure of its consumer offering, dropping entry-level prices and adding new channels. Here's everything you need to know...

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Foxtel

Foxtel has announced a number of major changes to its pay TV offering, including a new, lower-priced Entertainment Pack for AU$25 per month, a new video on demand service for complete catch-up seasons of popular shows, as well as the third iteration of Foxtel IQ.

According to Foxtel CEO Richard Freudenstein, who announced the changes at the Astra 2014 Conference, Foxtel is looking to give "customers access to bonus content at no extra charge".

"Key bonuses include giving the vast majority of subscribers access to all general entertainment channels; giving all customers who take the Premium Movies and Drama tier access to some pay-per-view movies at no extra cost; and giving all Essentials customers, who don't currently have it, access to Foxtel's award winning premium drama channel - Showcase, the Home of HBO," Foxtel said in a statement.

New pricing structure

In a move that Freudenstein said would "cause millions of people to have another look at Foxtel," the pay TV provider is introducing a new Entertainment Pack, priced at AU$25 per month for cable and satellite subscriptions (on a 12-month plan). This is half the price of Foxtel's previous entry-level package, the AU$49-per-month Essentials bundle.

The new Entertainment Pack will be available from November 2014 and will feature more than 40 channels including FOX8, Lifestyle, MTV, and National Geographic, as well as access to Foxtel's iQ set top boxes.

In addition to this basic package, Foxtel has restructured its 'premium tier' add-on bundles, which can be purchased in addition to the Entertainment Pack. This includes a Movies Pack for AU$20 per month (down from AU$25 [PDF]), a Sports Pack for AU$25 and the Drama Pack featuring the new BoxSets channel (see below) for AU$20.

Foxtel's General Entertainment Packs have been rebranded and repriced, and will include Entertainment Plus, Docos, and Kids, each priced at AU$10 per month.

The provider has also boosted its HD channel count to 36 with the addition of 9 new HD channels spread across all premium content packs, including sports, movies, and drama.

BoxSets binge channel

Foxtel's announced the launch of a new BoxSets channel to offer live and catch-up access to complete past series of shows such as Game of Thrones, The Sopranos and Girls -- the channel will allow customers to "binge to their heart's content" according to Freudenstein.

The new channel will feature "complete series of library drama and complete past seasons of returning drama series on a regularly updating basis", and will available on the Foxtel Drama pack from November 3, 2014. It can also be purchased as a stand alone for $10 per month.

Foxtel provided the following list of shows that will be "available at or shortly after launch":

Available live and in Anytime (On-Demand)

  • Game of Thrones (Seasons 1-4)
  • The Sopranos (Seasons 1-6)
  • Big Love (Seasons 1-5)
  • The Newsroom (Seasons 1-2)
  • Rome (Seasons 1-2)
  • Band of Brothers
  • Entourage (Seasons 1-8)
  • Wentworth (Seasons 1-2)

Available in Anytime (On-Demand)

  • Getting On
  • Looking (Season 1)
  • Girls (Seasons 1-3)
  • Angels in America

Upcoming launches: IQ3 and 'Triple-Play'

Foxtel has announced the upcoming launch of the latest iteration of its IQ set-top box, featuring a number of new features such as an improved EPG, search and recommendation functionality and the ability to 'Start Over' if you turn on a show mid-way through.

IQ3 is currently undergoing trials and is due to launch "later this year".

Finally, the pay TV provider has confirmed that it will be rolling out a 'Triple-Play' of television, broadband and home phone for consumers in the first quarter of 2015 following final trials of the service from November.

Current customers

Foxtel has indicated that current customers will also get their share of bonuses at no extra charge. While there won't be an automatic reduction in prices for current customers when the plan changes come into effect on November 3, existing Foxtel subscribers will be "gifted" additional channels or bundles.

This content will be "based on current customer subscriptions" according to Foxtel, and while there are different permutations of packages and add-ons, Foxtel provided the following as a guide:

  • All Movies customers (excluding Seniors customers) who did not have the full Movie offering will have access to all nine Movie Channels, at no extra cost
  • All Premium Movies and Drama customers will have access to one pay-per-view movie each month (including New Release movies), at no extra cost
  • All Platinum customers will have access to two pay-per-view movies per month (including New Release movies), at no extra cost
  • All customers who subscribe to at least one General Entertainment tier (including Platinum customers) and Seniors customers, will get Foxtel's brand new BoxSets channel...at no extra cost.

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The breakdown of Foxtel's new pricing and channel package structure. Foxtel

Update September 4, 5:05 p.m. AEST: Added information for current customers.

Update September 5, 10:05 a.m. AEST: Added channel breakdown.