Foxtel is having to adapt their pay-TV setup to face the new connected reality. This is brought on with “cord-cutting” where people are less likely to continually subscribe to pay-TV; IPTV-based competing pay-TV services being offered by ISPs, telecommunications companies and other companies; as well as the younger market becoming more “flighty” and moving to different locations. It is in contrast to the traditional pay-TV view where the service is provided to the suburban household with a TV in the main viewing area connected to the pay-TV service via a cable connection or satellite dish using a set-top box and the service based on a long-term account.
Here, they are responding to this situation by offering the Foxtel Play IPTV service which is delivered without the need for a set-top box. This service works at the moment with the XBox 360 games console, the recent Samsung Smart TV as well as a Web-browser session for Windows and MacOS X regular-computer platforms.
The Foxtel Go “TV-Everywhere” package is offered as part of the equation, being able to run on iOS devices running iOS 5 onwards as well as Samsung Android devices running Android Jelly Bean 4.1 onwards.
The accounts will be offered “by the month” rather than a long-term contract to cater for a large range of situations. This encompasses situations such as “event-specific” viewing, occasionally-occupied houses and people with changing budgets and lifestyles.
At the moment, two accounts can gain access to the service at any one time with each account being able to be bound to three devices. But the system could be improved to cater for share-houses that have more than two people viewing concurrently.
The Foxtel Play platform would need to spread out beyond Samsung Smart TV to more smart-TV platforms especially Sony with their PS3 games console, It will also need to encompass the fact that some of the smart-TV platforms have this functionality on video peripherals like Blu-Ray players or network media players
Similarly, there could be provision to allow people who have a traditional set-top-box subscription to either create a “portable” IPTV account for viewing in other locations or convert to a “Play” IPTV account that mirrors their current package.
The services could be augmented by a collection of “on-demand” TV services that aren’t just a “catch-up” service. This could include hiring pay-per-view movies through the Foxtel Play infrastructure or simply subscribing to channels that primarily show content on an “on-demand” manner.
It is showing that the whole business model of pay-TV is not about an infrastructure-driven setup but about a service that is more “end-to-end” in an infrastructure-agnostic manner.