Foxtel is gambling that its sports content is strong enough to retain
subscribers despite a hefty price hike. However the firm denied that lower movie package prices reflected a view that its offering was less solid.
Foxtel revealed yesterday that monthly sports package prices will jump from $16 to $25 on 1 March. Meanwhile, other categories will fall in price. Movies, for example, will be $7 cheaper.
Industry sources said subscribers will likely absorb the sports hike, given the strength of Foxtel's content. The consensus was that while there may be some impact on subscriber numbers, the bottom line was likely to be positive.
"It's unique content. People want it and will pay for it," James Simmons, head of digital media at independent agency Match Media told AdNews. "Sports is a winner both with consumers and advertisers." Movies, Simmons said, was a less unique offering. He suggested the price drop was a reaction to consumer pushback following Foxtel's culling of channel numbers from 15-11, signalled on 1 January.
Foxtel corporate affairs director Bruce Meagher denied that was the case, with the move "set in train earlier". He said consumers would "effectively have more movie choices at any given time". He disagreed that Foxtel's movie price reduction was an admission that its offering was less compelling. "It's as strong as its ever been."
Meagher insisted that subscribers would receive better overall value, with the $9 sports hike offset by other package reductions. "It is not an overall increase, but if you ascribe relative value to [each element of the subscription], then yes... sport is a very strong offering that justifies that relative part."