New Foxtel Service: Video Streaming Platform

New Foxtel Service: Video Streaming Platform

Foxtel is adding yet another service to its range of Pay TV and video streaming services. This time, they will introduce the Sky Glass smart TV service that was launched by its sister organisation, Sky UK, in 2021. The company has indicated that it will operate this service from a separate company. It aims to compete with leading streaming services such as Netflix, Disney, and Amazon.

Foxtel is 65% owned by News Corporation and 35% owned by Telstra. It is worth mentioning that Rupert Murdoch (News Limited) no longer owns Sky UK, as he sold it in 2018 to the American telecoms and media giant Comcast. Comcast was interested in the technology used by Sky, which likely helped them develop Sky Glass.

Over the years, Foxtel has moved further away from its very lucrative Pay TV service. Confronted with fierce competition from Netflix and others, it has made several attempts to enter the video streaming market be it reluctantly, trying to avoid cannibalising its Pay TV service. However, most of the time, the new services offered were priced well above its competitors. What has consistently saved Foxtel in the end has been its sports services (NBA, NFL, NRL, AFL, F1, Cricket, Supercars, UFC, and Football). The majority of Foxtel Pay TV customers were willing to pay a premium price to have access to their favourite sporting games.

The most successful alternative service Foxtel has offered is Kyo, a live video streaming service aimed at sporting events. More and more customers have transitioned from Foxtel Pay TV to Kyo, and this transfer is still ongoing. Last year, another 150,000 customers switched from the Pay TV service to the cheaper (and more versatile) Kyo service. However, Kyo remains a premium service with premium prices.

So, what is the new Sky Glass service all about?

Sky Glass is a streaming aggregation platform which Foxtel calls “Project Magneto.” On this platform, it will combine free-to-air, streaming, internet, and subscription (Pay TV) TV services. Other platforms based on aggregation include Optus SubHub and Fetch.

Looking at what the Foxtel service will look like, let’s examine the service in the UK.

Sky Glass is a 4K UHD TV with Sky built in. It can deliver everything Sky has to offer in the UK over WiFi. Through the Sky Glass smart TV, you can also watch Netflix, Disney+, YouTube, and more.

According to the Sky Glass website, the TV comes in three sizes: 43″, 55″, and 65″. Customers can also choose from five colours: Racing Green, Ocean Blue, Anthracite Black, Snow White, and Sage Green. The design is sleek and minimalist, with a thin bezel and a metal stand.

One of the features that sets Sky Glass apart is the built-in Dolby Atmos speaker system. This means people can enjoy immersive sound without the need for external speakers or soundbars. Sky Glass also has a motion sensor that can detect when people enter the room and turn on the TV automatically.

Sky Glass costs £13 per month for the 43″ model, £17 per month for the 55″ model, and £21 per month for the 65″ model. Alternatively, customers can pay upfront for a Sky Glass TV. However, a Sky subscription is still required to access the content.

Sky Glass is not without its drawbacks. Some of the cons of Sky Glass include:

  • It can be expensive compared to other streaming TVs.
  • It is not as customisable as other streaming TVs, as you cannot add or remove apps.
  • It has a limited app selection compared to other streaming TVs, as some apps like Amazon Prime Video and Apple TV+ are not available.

Paul Budde

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