There may only be 13 episodes left of Game of Thrones, but Foxtel has ’em in its rictus grip.
The Australia subscription TV provider has ensured it will remain the home of HBO shows in Australia in a new deal announced Tuesday.
Foxtel will continue to have right of first run and “on demand rights” for HBO content, it said in an emailed statement, giving it dibs on highly regarded shows including The Night Of, The Jinx, The Wire and VEEP. Not to mention your right to know if Jon Snow is actually you know who’s son.
Game of Thrones was a smashing success for Foxtel, with the final episode of Season 6 apparently pulling in an overnight audience of 737,000. It was also, by all accounts, a smashing success for pirates, with Australians eagerly downloading the episode illegally online.
Foxtel has also given the go-ahead to a genuinely exciting new piece of Aussie content: A mini-series based on the iconic novel, Picnic at Hanging Rock. The funding of premium Australian content (shout out to The Kettering Incident) is a welcome development, and one place where Foxtel can differentiate itself from the American invader, Netflix.
While local streaming service Stan has created some great homegrown shows such as Wolf Creek, Netflix has yet to publicly put any new local content on its books.
In another attempt to win back some ground from streaming competitors, Foxtel also announced that it would be lowering entry costs to its digital subscription TV platform, Foxtel Play. While the prices are yet to be announced, the new pricing structure will launch in December and will be accessible on a range of devices, including laptops.
In June, market research firm Roy Morgan found that Netflix was still dominant in Australia with an estimated 1,878,000 subscriptions locally. That was followed by Stan with 332,000 subscriptions and Presto, which Foxtel owns a chunk of, with 142,000 subscriptions.
Foxtel Play currently costs at minimum A$25 per month compared to Presto’s TV and movie package, which costs A$14.99 per month.
If Foxtel lowers the cost and barriers to entry for Foxtel Play and adds reams of HBO content, what was the point of Presto again?
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