Has Foxtel taken over? Or is it simply spin marketing

I get the feeling my household (ok there's two of us) is part of an ever-shrinking demographic.
Somehow gradually it feels like people who don't have Pay Tv (what Australian's call "cable") are being pushed into the outer, in mainstream media.
Are we really so backward because we don't have it? We're still of the mindset that having Pay tv (hereafter referred to as Foxtel, since its the main provider) is a luxury, not a neccessity. Unlike the impression I get from US programming, Free-to-air isn't that bad in Oz. At least, I should preface that with "during prime time (6pm-10.30pm)". I'm sure daytime and 2am programming is better on Foxtel than free-to-air, but when I lived at home I frequently found we watched Free-to-air, not Foxtel, during prime-time anyway.

I can only assume, with the barrage of advertising for shows, on channels we don't get, that we must be a minority now, rather than a majority.

Some examples recently

  • Pay Tv has its own awards here, much like the Daytime Emmy's in the US I imagine. That's fine and all, except they're also encroaching on The Logies, with Love my Way winning Best series for 2007 (Channel W).
  • Then in 2008, both Best Actor and Actress were from Shows on Foxtel channels- Stephen Curry for The King (TV1) and Alison Whyte on Satisfaction, (Showcase). They don't even have a "Subscription" category, they just take over Free-to-air!

But I digress.

So what the cold hard facts of the matter? Are we a minority or a majority? Is Free-to-air dying a slow and painful death?
Well in 2005 :
Free TV exists in 99% of Australian homes, with 67% of Australians owning two or more TVs. Pay TV penetration has remained fairly stable (at around 24%) despite the publicity push that came with the launch of Foxtel’s digital offering in March last year.
This is an interesting look at how the introduction of "digital" Foxtel affected the rate at which households took it up. (And where's the other 1%? People that live in boxes?)
The common misconception is that half of TV’s entire viewing audience is watching pay TV, but that figure only identifies “eyeballs” within pay homes. 75% of homes do not have pay TV.

“I find agency chiefs and clients saying, ‘Well pay TV has 50% of the audience’. No it hasn’t. It’s got 50% of viewing of the households who do switch on to pay TV,” Allen explains.
Aha. So Foxtel are simply spinning their figures to make it look like "everyone" has Pay-Tv. When in reality, only a quarter of homes do, and of that quarter, they watch Free-to-air HALF the time!
That's not a stat to be proud of really, no wonder they're not waving it around.

A more recent stat, as at June 07 (most recent figures from the Australian Film Commission) 2,082,128 households had some form of Pay-tv.
This is a penetration of approximately 26 per cent of all Australian households.
So not much growth in 2006. Who knows what Pay-tv will do in the future however, as in DEC 1995, stats were as such

Foxtel 2,000

Optus 1,000



Australis Media




One can assume Austar didn't quite exist yet, and another company altogether (since gone bust) had the lions share.

Vastly different to the breakdown even in 2000







So if in Dec 2000 there were 1,344,000 subscribers, and in June 2007 there were 2,082,128 it stands to reason there will be another 700, 000 subscribers by 2014, give or take population growth, and not applying any other principle to the formula. That's what, 7% I think of the population. Not exactly exploding then is it?

So. We're NOT in the minority because we don't have Foxtel. The way the figures are going in fact, we may never get Foxtel.

So why does it feel like everyone BUT us has Foxtel? Because they're sneaky. Because they WANT us to feel like we're the ones left out. Damn marketing genius.
OR, maybe we're simply in an affluent area. I'm leaning toward the marketing.

Do you have pay tv?
Do you want it if you don't?
If you DO, do you feel its really worth it? From what I can see, we'd be looking at a price per month of AT LEAST $88.80. That's $1065.60 a year. My gym membership costs less than that!

5 kindred spirits ~ This bugs them too!:

K said...
June 26, 2008 4:56 PM

We join you in the ranks of Free to Air only-ers. In fact - we're one of the 33% of households with only one television!

I used to have Foxtel at home for years and it was great. But I watched so much crap. When we had it disconnected, there was about 6 months of "there's nothing on television" and now we don't notice it anymore.

I have no plans to pay for it any time soon. I am enjoying ABC2 via our digital set top ox though. Thats my concession :)

Dataceptionist said...
June 26, 2008 8:11 PM

Hey, we are also with you in the 33%. We're only two people. We have no NEED for more than one!

Yes we still have a CRT Tv, but when we eventually upgrade to a plasma/LCD we will get a set-top box I think. Channel Ten's digital appears to be quite poor but ABC2 good you reckon.

phonakins said...
June 27, 2008 7:28 AM

Have a tv, but it's unplugged and under a head of junk in the spare room, it gets pulled out for... well last time was probably cricket, time beore that the election!

I do have to admit to watching TV at the gym

Reanan said...
June 30, 2008 7:48 PM

Well we have pay tv at home, and as Dad spends alot of time at home and is somewhat confined to it as an activity it is more of a sanity neccessity.

I also have a friend who has pay tv when thier budget would probably be better off without paying for those two foxtel iQ subscriptions, but I guess that is thier 'luxious neccessity.'

My dispair (in fact I loathe and toil against this) is when watching Foxtel WE GET ADS. Even now watching TV1, right now, there is an Allianz ad, followed by a Mylanta ad, followed by an ad for Ground Hog Day (annoying but acceptable self promotion)
WE PAY FOR THIS. We do not want ads. Ads are what pays for free to air television.

Dataceptionist said...
July 04, 2008 10:59 AM

@ phoakins
without trying to sound like television is my life, what do you do in the evening?

@ Reanan
Ahh Re, I know why YOU have pay-tv, and of course do not begrudge you it for a second.
Hmm, I guess I'd rather buy a pair of leather boots once a month than have pay-tv, as thats the equivalant what your friends outlay would be monthly. Eek!
Ahh yes, thats why they were so quick to nip the "commercial free/commercial television" label when it first came in (remember that?)
Hahaha what DO you think pays for Foxtel then? Sugar plums and fairies?

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