news In an effort to draw more subscribers to Internet Protocol TV (IPTV), national broadband provider Internode late last week announced that prices for its FetchTV service have been cut by one-third.
Although the official date for the new prices is November 23rd, new customers are already being offered the new prices. Currently, the new pricing is not mentioned on the Internode website, but new subscribers will have their bills adjusted to take the new rates into account. Internode is moving existing customers to the new rental and purchase rates automatically; the revised monthly prices will appear on their bills within the next few monthly billing cycles.
The details of the price cut:
- The FetchTV Full service which was previously available at $29.95 is currently on offer at $19.95 after a $10 price cut.
- FetchTV Lite prices have been reduced from $14.95 to $9.95.
- The FetchTV set-top box (STB) is now available at $299 after a $100 discount.
- Customers bringing their own FetchTV STB can avail themselves of prices of $14.95 for FetchTV Full and $4.95 for FetchTV Lite.
With its three-tuner, high-definition set-top box, the FetchTV subscription service from Internode offers video-on-demand movies and programming as well as time-shifted television viewing. Among its range of new TV channels, FetchTV carries several free-to-air TV channels, numerous on-demand TV channels, and special channel packages for customers looking for TV programming from South Korea, the Philippines, India, Singapore, Taiwan, Pakistan and China. FetchTV additionally offers Facebook and YouTube access.
Internode managing director Simon Hackett believes the reduced pricing will bring in many more subscriptions to FetchTV. “This new pricing means a number of cool things. As well as a much lower cost, these new prices create a consistent $5 differential between the ‘rent’ and ‘buy’ paths for access to the FetchTV set-top box. Because it now costs only $60 a year to rent the FetchTV STB on a 24-month term, we expect the ‘rental’ path to remain the more popular choice,” Hackett elaborated in a statement issued by Internode last week.
Rival telco Optus had launched the FetchTV service under the MeTV brand in late October, starting at $9.95 a month with the charge waived for subscribers using its $109 Fusion home broadband and telephone package. iiNet and Adam Internet already sell the FetchTV services as well Other major Australian Internet video platforms include Telstra’s T-Box platform and bundled offerings available through Microsoft’s Xbox 360 and Sony’s PlayStation 3 platforms.
By most accounts, the FetchTV service hasn’t been selling that strongly for iiNet (the only ISP which would usually disclose sales figures, as it’s ASX-listed), and so I’m not surprised to see Internode discounting the service already. I think FetchTV just adds too much cost to Australians’ Internet bills without offering a decent enough alternative to using a DVD rental service like Quickflix, or a pay TV service like Foxtel.
And of course, for many people, FetchTV also needs to be a better alternative than just downloading content through platforms like BitTorrent. Australians are some of the biggest downloaders of pirated content in the world.
Up against this competition, FetchTV has so far been pretty overpriced, in my opinion, and has lacked the real instant customisability that platforms like Quickflix (or just downloading stuff from BitTorrent) has offered Australia. From here, I’d like to see the platform focus on increasing the quality of its streams while also increasing the range of its video on demand offerings and gradually reducing prices. Almost the same stuff Quickflix needs to focus on to get its own streaming platform off the ground.
Getting the content you want legally, when you want it, in good quality and at a decent price has always been the holy grail of digital film and TV consumption in Australia. So far, nobody has cracked the puzzle yet, although Telstra appears to be doing better than most, with its T-Box offering. Hopefully FetchTV can step up to the table soon.
I would like to issue a big caveat here: I am currently organising a new review of the FetchTV service. The company’s representatives have been telling me it’s evolved significantly since Delimiter’s last review in August 2010, and so it’ll be interesting to see what it’s like now. Perhaps I’ll change my mind. Perhaps it *is* the holy grail of Australian IPTV ;)