This week Foxtel announced a complete overhaul of its UI, which will be rolling out over the next few months.
Part of these huge changes includes a partnership with Netflix. There's a lot of information to unpack, and we're going to lay it all out for you.
But one thing that has become abundantly clear is that unless you already have a Foxtel box, you should probably steer clear.
Earlier this week a leak from News Corp revealed that Foxtel would be partnering up with Netflix. The early news came in the form of the new Foxtel remote which included a Netflix button. The news is now official, and we have all of the juicy details for you.
Wait, What's Happening?
Foxtel is trying to play catch-up with streaming providers such as Netflix and Stan by basically cloning them.
The new-look Foxtel has a similar aesthetic, search engine and suggestion functionality as your favourite streaming platforms, thus providing its customers with an easier and more modern user experience.
But that's not all. Foxtel is also attempting to hold onto its current user base by partnering with Netflix.
In addition to integrating Netflix content into the Foxtel interface, the new remote controls will have a dedicated Netflix button.
Okay, When Is It Happening?
It's a progressive rollout that started earlier this week and will continue through November.
According to Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany the first 50,000 customers with iQ4 boxes began receiving the update from the announcement date.
After a fortnight 150,000 iQ4 customers per week will be added to the roll out, with a pause occurring before IQ3 customers receive the update.
However, you are able to manually push the update yourself now if you have an iQ4 box. We have step by step instructions right here. Sadly iQ3 customers will need to wait until September to be able to do this.
How Much Is it?
At the present time there are no new special plans or deals around the partnership. However, both new and existing customers can get six months of Netflix for free on any Foxtel plan that costs at least $49 a month.
However, if you're an existing customer you will need to re-contract for another twelve months.
But while there are no new plans yet, Foxtel CEO Patrick Delany confirmed that they will be coming later this year in a conversation with Gizmodo Australia.
"Stage two is that we are going to clean up all of the pricing and packaging for Foxtel, and there will be bundling into the pricing for Netflix."
We can expect these new plans and bundles to be introduced in September or October, so if you were thinking of signing up to Foxtel (or re-contracting) it may be worth waiting until then.
What's The Go With The New Remote?
If you want the new Foxtel Remote you may also need to pay extra, depending on how long you've been a customer for.
The pricing was confirmed in an email to Gizmodo Australia from Foxtel's Chief Communications Officer, Paul Edwards.
"The New Foxtel Experience is designed to work on all our remotes using the Home button so there is no need to upgrade to enjoy the new experience. That said, we’re recognising our long-standing customers’ loyalty and are offering customers who have been with Foxtel for eight or more years a complimentary remote; customers who have been with us between three to eight years can purchase them for a discounted price of $29 while newer customers can purchase them for $49."
It is understood that new customers will receive the new remote along with their iQ4 box.
Older remotes will still be able to access Netflix functionality even without the dedicated button.
Will This Impact Foxtel Now?
No, this partnership is just for Foxtel customers who have a physical iQ boxes in their homes.
Considering that both Foxtel Now and Netflix are web-based applications, it wouldn't really make sense to bundle them unless there was some kind of discount involved. Perhaps one day!
Okay So Why Don't I Want It?
If you're not already a Foxtel subscriber it's probably for a good reason. This also means that there isn't a whole lot of value to this partnership for you.
At the present time you'll need to spend a minimum of $49 a month to get a mere six months of Netflix for free. You'll also be locked into a twelve month contract and will therefore not be able to take advantage of whatever new plans or Netflix x Foxtel bundles the company has planned for later in the year. Or if you can, you'll may need to re-contract.
As it stands, regular Foxtel is an outdated and expensive form of content delivery that requires an increasingly superfluous piece of hardware that you pay for but don't actually own. Plus it costs a mammoth $10 extra a month just to access HD content.
If you have a console, Apple TV, Telstra TV, NVIDIA Shield or even a modern smart TV, there is very little reason for you to also need a Foxtel box to watch stuff on.
Even if sport is your thing, Kayo is going to push into this space strongly over the coming years.
Bottom line - until we know what these new plans are going to look like, it doesn't seem worth signing up for twelve months just to get 6 months of Netflix for free.
You're Not My Real Dad, What If I Do Want It?
If you're already a Foxtel customer and plan on continuing with the service for awhile, why not get Netflix for free for six months?
I'll hand it to Foxtel here, that's a fair argument to make. And the company has been transparent about this partnership being about the retention of current customers, as opposed to acquiring new ones.
Bringing Netflix (and eventually other streaming services) into the fold is a way for Foxtel to try and stay relevant in a world that has pivoted drastically towards streaming.
It won't be for everyone, and certainly seems directed at some particular demographics. And if that's you, awesome! Hopefully Foxtel will come in swinging with some killer bundles to make the partnership truly worth it in the future.
Regardless of your opinion on the subject, it's going to be interesting to see how this experiment goes, and if it will be enough to save Foxtel's old school content delivery business.