Jul 10, 2012

We don’t love pay-TV like the rest. So what’s Foxtel really worth?

Foxtel once predicted pay-TV would be installed in three-quarters of homes. In fact, at 28% Australia has one of the lowest rates in the developed world. So what went wrong?

Matthew Knott

Former Crikey media reporter

In 1999, when the Australian pay-TV industry was less than four years old, Foxtel CEO Tom Mockridge made a prediction: a big, bold and — as it turned out — wildly incorrect prediction. Within 10 years, he said, pay-TV would be installed in three-quarters of Australian homes.

Yet by 2009 only 29% of Australian homes had pay-TV. Today, according to stockbroking firm CCZ Statton Equities, it’s at 28% — one of the lowest rates in the developed world.

Free Trial

Proudly annoying those in power since 2000.

Sign up for a FREE 21-day trial to keep reading and get the best of Crikey straight to your inbox

By starting a free trial, you agree to accept Crikey’s terms and conditions


Leave a comment

7 thoughts on “We don’t love pay-TV like the rest. So what’s Foxtel really worth?

  1. uniquerhys

    Yep, going down – I cut the cord yesterday. Call me when I can pay per-show, not per-channel or per-package. And download it over my existing broadband link. Download to play on the device of my choosing, not DRM-encumbered nonsense or streaming.

    One thing’s for certain – I’m unlikely to even look at an IPTV service from Foxtel. I looked into Foxtel Download and the range of available shows is a total joke. That and the forced bundling with regular Foxtel. There’s little point using Download when I’ve already DVR’ed it off the regular cable.

    Sadly, the other IPTV providers don’t look any better. FetchTV requires a specific box to be installed, and a specific ISP. WTF? Read the freaking IPv4/v6 specs and understand OSI layering model for God’s sake! Networks, applications, formats, and protocols are different things and should not be bundled together for correct Internet operation.

  2. Merve

    “Cost, Allen says, is the major reason why the Australian pay-TV penetration rate dwindles behind the US (90%) or UK (60%). Signing up to pay-TV here costs far more than the US or most of Europe.”

    Yes, once again we Aussies get treated like a doormat.

  3. Mobius Ecko

    Ads were what killed Pay TV for me. I subscribed from the very beginning when there were not many channels but you can mix and match anything. The only thing that interrupted the shows were promos, and even they were short and far between.

    Then the channel numbers increased and crappy limited selections of packages were introduced. I love docos and it was the main reason for me going Pay in the first place, but when you had to get the top package to get all the doco channels you wanted then I started getting peeved.

    So it’s not the cost but the cost because to get a decent mixture you more or less have to get the top package, which is way too expensive. Then you have to pay for individual first run movies or special one off sporting events on top of that.

    But by far the biggest killer was the gradual increase in ads and the extension of promos, from no ads and a few promos when I first joined, to so many ads and promos there were many times I could channel flick through everything and catch and ad or promo on every channel.

    Why should I pay to be annoyed every few minutes when I could get that for free on FTA. When I dropped out Foxtel contacted me like clockwork every couple of weeks offering me reduced price deals (time limited of course) to rejoin and asked why I left after being a subscriber for so many years. I said ads. Get rid of the ads and I’ll sign up again, and the response was always they had to pay for their service somehow.

    Drop the ads and give better more flexible packages, and the ability to drop out channels and their promos, I will never watch then I will subscribe again.

  4. Bill Hilliger

    At last it has become apparent why there is such opposition by the Murdoch media and other rent seekers to the NBN rollout.

  5. eric

    I also dropped Pay TV when the ads stared to be as frequent as on FTA TV just another bit of sucking up to Murdoch by Howard and his cronies so the old man could make millions out of Aussie suckers.

    If Im paying $100 a month for mostly shit shows and 1960s re runs I dont want ANY ads thank you!

    Im glad Telstra never gave into Murdochs pressure to sell to him.

  6. Steve777

    I’ve never been tempted by pay TV. As ad breaks became increasingly intrusive and schedules became increasingly infested with reality shows, cooking shows and talent quests on Free to Air, I just watched a lot less TV and that mostly the ABC. When I’ve watched pay TV at relatives’ homes, I’ve noted the significant increase in the number of ads – pay TV is now like free to air used to be. Ads on free to air are one thing – I realise that if you’re not paying for a product then you ARE the product. But I’m not paying $4,000 to $5,000 a year for the privilege of being delivered to advertisers.

  7. Owen Gary

    Lets face it, if none of us bought TV’s they would give them to us for free. It is vital for their social brainwashing of the masses.
    If we then have to pay for TV I’m pulling the plug & will turn on my radio. As already pointed out why should anyone have to fork out to watch Ad’s.

    Most people will pay just for the sports, but again why pay for Ad’s, most of the shows are so called reality (garbage) which cost nothing to produce. No stars no story no point.

    I’m with Steve on this I will never pay for TV except the ABC which is coming out of our taxes.

Share this article with a friend

Just fill out the fields below and we'll send your friend a link to this article along with a message from you.

Your details

Your friend's details