Foxtel and the pricey Presto ploy

Foxtel’s online entertainment service Presto, offers a monthly pass to stream Foxtel Movies, and rivals the popular (and cheaper) Netflix and Quickflix. Foxtel has been under fire for its recent decision to dramatically reduce the per-month cost of its fledging entertainment service, just six months after it was launched.

Usually, Australians, who according to consumer organisation CHOICE, pay up to 400 per cent more for TV shows, than their overseas counterparts, welcome any price-drop with open arms. However, Presto’s dramatic price-drop from $19.99 to just $9.99 per month begs the question: just how much were Presto customers being price-gouged by in the first place?

To coax customers into signing-up, Foxtel offered Presto for $4.99 for the first month. But Presto doesn’t have high-definition content or an extensive back catalogue, and until it added Chromecast connectivity, it didn’t allow customers the ability to stream TV shows onto their televisions.

Presto competitor, Quickflix, dropped its price from $14.99 to $9.99 one month before Presto launched in March. Rather than lowering its price to directly match competitors, Foxtel’s now lower price just highlights how hard it tried to gouge every cent it could from customers.

Being charged premium prices for technology, entertainment and software is something Australians know a lot about.  As previously mentioned, data from CHOICE shows Australians are “paying staggeringly high premiums for repackaged content even when it is delivered online through streaming or on-demand services”.

It’s no wonder then, that so many of us choose to access our favourite TV shows and films from illegal torrent websites, instead of paying exorbitant prices to money-grubbing corporations such as Foxtel. To highlight the extent of illegal downloads, according to internet tracking site TorrentFreak, the season four finale of Game of Thrones was downloaded roughly 1.5 million times by Australians, in the 12 hours after the it went to air.

Red-faced, Foxtel has made a call-out to current customers of Presto, offering them one month for free as retribution. But the cat is now out of the bag, and the more competition we see for Foxtel, the better off Australians will be when it comes to accessing online content cheaply and fairly.


What do you think of Foxtel’s apparent price gouging? Do you access your entertainment online, and if so, what methods do you use?

Written by ameliath