Foxtel confirms Netflix partnership rumours, giving its subscribers access to the US streaming giant's content via remote control

Netflix Australia. Photo: Getty Images
  • Australian cable TV network Foxtel will partner with US-based streaming service Netflix.
  • Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany confirmed the deal today, which will also see SBS content integrated into Foxtel.
  • It follows research from Roy Morgan indicating 11.5 million Australians have a Netflix subscription compared to around 5 million who still have Foxtel.

Foxtel subscribers will now have access to content from US streaming giant Netflix.

The Australian cable TV network’s CEO Patrick Delany confirmed the partnership at a press conference in Sydney on Wednesday.

Delany said the US streaming giant’s service will be “seamlessly integrated” into Foxtel, with subscribers able to access via a Netflix button on their remote control.

He unveiled a $58 per month “sport, drama and entertainment” package, which gives free access to Netflix for six months and announced that content from public broadcaster SBS will also be integrated into Foxtel. Media were not given an opportunity to ask further questions.

A statement published on the Foxtel website explains that the new “experience” will start to be rolled out from today to iQ4 customers, with iQ3 customers starting to receive the new features from September, with software updates to automated.

“Foxtel customers do not need to do anything to enjoy The New Foxtel Experience,” the statement said.

Earlier this month, News.com.au — which is operated by News Corp Australia, the majority shareholder of Foxtel — published a leaked photo of the new Foxtel remote featuring a Netflix button, first indicating that a partnership between the media competitors could be on the cards.

Image uploaded to imgshare.io by Whirlpool user Habibo. First reported by News.com.au

Delany also announced a new user interface for Foxtel and access to a “huge amount of on-demand” content.

Research from Roy Morgan released on Tuesday shown just how dominant Netflix has become on the Australian media landscape.

The updated research found 11.5 million Australians now have a household subscription to Netflix, compared to around 5 million who still have Foxtel. In addition, 3 million Australians have access to both Netflix and Foxtel.

Roy Morgan CEO Michele Levine said in a statement that if the rumours of the partnership come true, it “carries significant opportunities” for both media players.

For Foxtel, it will act as an incentive to drive more people to its service.

“Enabling the 5 million Australians with household access to Foxtel to view the streaming service through their Foxtel IQ box is a solid defensive measure to help prevent existing Foxtel subscribers ditching the service to move to cheaper alternatives and provides an extra incentive for new users to sign up for Foxtel,” she said in a statement.

“The proliferation of cheap streaming video services led by Netflix in recent years has provided the biggest challenge yet to Foxtel’s traditional business model and there are more cashed up competitors on the way. Nearly 3 million Australians already watch the Australian-owned Stan and services including Amazon Prime Video and YouTube Premium are growing quickly.

“The more Foxtel can be regarded as the ‘gateway’ to video content from the likes of Netflix, and perhaps other rival services in future, the more access Foxtel will gain to detailed user data metrics that will help them tailor their services, and advertising, to individual viewing preferences and the more valuable their service will in turn be to advertisers looking for an audience.”

While Netflix is dominating the Australian market in terms of subscriptions, its June quarter 2019 results showed a net loss of subscribers in the United States for the first time in eight years, according to Roy Morgan.

More to come.

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