Internode slashes FetchTV prices

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 ;)

Image credit: Robert Linder, royalty free


      • Well, downward pricing pressure is *usually* a competitive force in the ISP realm. They won’t have changed anything that’s saved them $10 pcm per user…so they are just moving themselves into a more competitive position, more than likely.

        *ouch*…too late on Sunday to think like this… ;)

  1. Renai,

    The offering has certainly advanced hugely since the last time you saw it in August 2010. I’ll look forward to your review of it :)

    Its not trying to be ‘Foxtel on a budget’. Its something different – and at the new price points we’re running with, its extremely accessible.

    A great PVR (3 tuner, 1TB hard drive, High Def) for an effective rental cost of $5 per month gets you the platform for something that (in my view) usurps TiVo and Apple TV in terms of capability, and with a content library that is growing by the week.

    One thing to appreciate when comparing this offering to Quickflix (as you have) is that they are starting much further behind the 8 ball on content deals. They’ve signed 2 studios for their streaming services to date, Fetch is already running with 13 studios (so far).

    (I’m sure they’re working hard to catch up, of course!)

    Anyway – do try it out again, Renai. It is chalk and cheese compared to more than a year ago, when you last saw it.

  2. Fetch TV hasn’t had a large takeup I read? I can’t say I’m surprised when the majority of potential users can only access the lite version which really only offers a movie rental service (that you can get with a cheaper Apple TV), a PVR (which seems rather expensive for what it does) and free to air TV (which comes out of the wall antenna socket in digital for free).,

  3. The prices are too expensive for the crappy channels you get. Plus I have a shitty 4Mbps connection – so pass.

  4. While FetchTV might be excellent (I’ll just have to take Simon’s word on that), using multicast is what is holding it up. Multicast might be the best technical choice for stream delivery, it is not practical when multiple wholesalers are involved.

    Light might be an option, but seriously, if we are going to pay for TV, I will want to have more choice. I currently have a perfectly functioning TiVo and from some of the comments over on whirlpool, it seems the Fetch interface has issues, still, and needs rebooting etc, something that we don’t get with our TiVo. Also, why would I want to through away (not very environmentally thoughtful) my perfectly functioning TiVo that costs no extra costs per month for something else I have to buy and pay to run to deliver no extra benefit?

    Yes, it might have access to a good catalogue of movies but you know what? I like going down to the local movie store and having a browse and then putting money into my local businesses than Simon Hackett’s pocket (he doesn’t spend his money in my community or provide DSLAM access).

    So you see, until there is something on offer (like T-Box has) that gives me something more than I currently have access to, then this is just another power sapping device that I have had to throw out something that was currently working fine, doing the same thing.

    So here is a challenge for Simon, get Fetch to do Unicast AS WELL as Multicast and you might have a few more customers. Until then, a lot of people have products (that you sold to them when TiVo was all the rage) that already do what they need and that they only have access to.

  5. iinet have told their staff to mention fetch to at least 3 customers per day now. thats how much they are starting to push it, because its true. they arent selling as much of it as they want. with node offering these prices, id expect to see iinet cut their prices if they want to boost their numbers.

  6. There were a couple of comments thrown around in WP in regards to Telstra rolling out these tophat devices. Peeps were under the impression that Telstra will get the go ahead for the Austar deal and hence, with tophat deployment they are readying themselves for a mass Foxtel over t-box rollout.
    Once (and if) that happens, Fetch won’t have much hope, not with it’s current content offering and limitations that are imposed on certain external hardware factors.
    FetchTV needed to come to the forefront without the external hardware limitations and a tonne of choice as far as content goes. If that’s how they rolled from day one I’d imagaine it could be doing a lot better than it currently is and Internode wouldn’t have to drop prices to try and sell this device.

  7. I would love a service that provides me with on-demand TV shows; As in, the TV show I want, when I want it – which means I don’t particularly want to wait the days, weeks or months it takes for a show to reach our shores.
    If such a service were able to be provided for a reasonable price point, I would sign-up in a heartbeat. Unfortunately from what I’ve seen, all these offerings only really appear to offer proper on-demand movies which frankly, I’m not interested in. (And I realise I’m probably in the minority here.) And those that do offer on-demand TV, don’t offer the shows that I’m interested in.

  8. It would be futile for iiNet to consider dropping prices to attract customers. They need to drop the BoB requirement. It’s a customers biggest barrier to entry to be forced to a different hardware platform when existing hardware already meets the requirements.

    For me, I’m really happy with my existing hardware configuration and am in no way interested in breaking something that does not need fixing.

    I’m not alone either based on a lot of opinions and requests on whirlpool regarding FetchTV and supported hardware.

    If BoB were Mohammed and iiNet customers the mountain, I don’t think the mountain is interested in moving to Mohammed.

  9. Fetch isnt as big as it could be due to minimum service restrictions. I’d love to have it, a lot of people i know would love to have it, but our 3mbps ADSL service just doesnt cut the musturd.

    Unfortunatly for iiNet and ‘Node, thats not something they can fix.

  10. If this service came on my Boxee. I would be sold… I’m not buy another device for some small addition. I can only watch one program at a time and with Seven and ABC having catch up tv on boxee now I only really need to get Ten and Nine. (These will be added real soon) FetchTV need to realise the successful model is an option of their device but access from ALL devices (think netflix)… I just hope the movie industry move quickly to support these types of distribution before they go the way the music industry did for so long. The days of selling heaps of physical product is over. Sell what you really make the movies!

  11. As a FetchTV user, it’s actually a pretty competent box. It’s replaced a TiVo in my case, and is considerably better maintained. Seven lost interest and the TiVo platform has all but died.

    So unlike a bunch of people passing judgement that don’t have the thing, to cast aspersions against. I do. Is it perfect? No.. but for an initial (genuine) IPTV offering in the market it’s a pretty good start.

    It’s FTA handling is also great.

    There is always an argument for a “not-box” solution. Which happily ignores the scenario where a box is actually what the consumer wants. A not-box solution is always a potential offering; Foxtel now has such a service, but that is (given the age of the overall Foxtel offering) a very recent change, relatively speaking.

    It would not surprise me in the slightest if that box-free content offering is under consideration, however there is the small matter of content owners demanding restrictions which reduce the flexibility in having a not-box option.

    What will really spur on growth in this IP based market will be the NBN. Telstra’s lack of multi-cast support is a real handicap. With the NBN being position to provide a framework where multicast and such can be the norm, it really opens up a huge potential martet.

    And really, the more competition we can see in the PayTV market, the better.

    Discounting, or competing? I think that’s a bit of a straw-man argument, Renai. And it ignores, perhaps, the bigger picture.

    The single biggest shake up to broadband access in Australia has been the infrastructure spend of ISPs. That’s rattled the Incumbents cage to such a degree, that they’ve actually now started to compete on a pricing level. You could argue either was the case here too, but it ignores the key end result.

    PayTV vendors are starting to compete. Should FetchTV make respectable inroads, and there’s no reason to presume it will fail, then that will fox Foxtel to adapt, or lose market share. Just as Bigpond did.

    That’ll help the wallet, and it brings a plethora of options. Rather a different notion to just a “discount” result you seem to be spruking. ;)

  12. Simon, is there any chance of getting things like Rugby Union on FetchTV. I appreciate that Foxtel has most of the rights, but if FetchTV offered more sports I’d already be using.

  13. Nothing unusual about Internode doing this. They drop prices get the customers then jack them up again and then come up with the usual excuses… “oh its telstra fault yadda yadda yadda.”

    Watch this space, prices will rise before 12 months is up.

    Mumma needs a new plane.

    • “Watch this space, prices will rise before 12 months is up.”

      FetchTV isn’t Telstra. Or Foxtel (whom recently increased pricing, again). The reduction in cost may well be to capture market share. If it is, great. That will help keep the pricing in place.

      I’m happy for it to cost me less.

      If prices go back up, it would have to be a considerable percentage to wipe out the savings in the mean time, and that presumes they would. FetchTV is in a growth phase (as apposed to Foxtel’s ongoing consolidation) so it’s illogical to “jack up” prices at short notice.

      Telstra don’t care. So they drop/ jack prices as they see fit. Because they can. There aren’t too many parallels here.

      • When have Telstra jacked their prices up and down? I’ve only seen prices drop and qoutas increase over the last 24 months. Internodes pricing on the other hand have been up and down like a yo-yo with ADHD :)

  14. I’d consider fetch if there was a media centre software solution. I’m not running another inferior box just to access a limited amount of content at lower quality than the ‘competition’

    • +1

      This is the only thing that would get me interested in FetchTV. Foxtel is still a nightmare to get set up within Media Center (and not quite legal if you are using a software CAM solution) and integrating with the Media Center EPG guide is far too hard for the average user.

      If FetchTV was to support an easy integration with Media Center, with a good EPG for FTA and the additional channels, it could target all those who currently pay for ICETV EPG. I am sure many would consider paying a bit more than the ICETV fee, which is for a basic albeit reliable and functional EPG, for the additional features of FetchTV if they could use it with their existing Media Center HTPC’s and Xbox360 extenders. Having to consider another proprietary STB, and in the case of iiNet a restriction in router choice, is a turn off for those who already have a fully functional media distribution network in their homes.

      If FetchTV et al. do not look at making their services more cost effective and accessible, then I just do not see many will consider them as a viable alternative to BitTorrent, and other more convenient methods of getting the media people want in a timely and cost effective manner.

      All I really want is Netflix (or a competent substitute which unfortunately Quickflix is not yet anywhere near the same level) and an IPTV service integrated into my Media Center HTPC and distributed around my house via my multiple Xbox360’s. Why is this soo hard to achieve? It has been possible in the US for a number of years and Microsoft has offered its Media Room service to ISP for just as long yet no Australian ISP is going this route. Until then…no FetchTV for me!

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