Foxtel customers up 12% thanks to Kayo and Binge as namesake brands drop

Total number of old school Foxtel customers is hovering just above the 2 million mark, as Kayo and Binge collect a million paid subscribers between them.

Fight in a football game crowd. Angry man hitting another spectator in soccer match audience. Violent argument between two fans of different teams and clubs.

Streaming wars, but it is Foxtel versus itself in the form of Kayo and Binge

Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto

The slow decline of Foxtel's traditional customer base continues to play out, with News Corp revealing on Friday the pay TV operation has barely over 2 million customers on its broadcast channels.

Compared to last year, Foxtel is down approximately 267,000 cable customers, as its reported number is now 2.001 million. By comparison, at the end of 2016, the company had 2.8 million broadcast subscribers.

Headed in the other direction are Foxtel's newest streaming plays, Kayo and Binge. Compared to last year, Kayo grew by 78% to  624,000 paying customers as of the end of calendar year 2020, with Binge gaining 431,000 paying customers in its first 7 months to the same point.

Following its namesake down is the company's Foxtel Now product, which fell from 334,000 paying customers to 258,000 by the end of 2020.

Taken together, the company has 1.31 million streaming customers, and saw its total Foxtel customer base increase by 12% to 3.3 million.

"Foxtel's revenue trends have been better than anticipated in the first half of fiscal 2021, with higher ARPU offsetting higher churn, resulting in lower year-over-year revenue declines in residential broadcast. Broadcast churn is expected to remain elevated due to the suspension of government stimulus payments and Foxtel's ongoing emphasis on ARPU," News Corp said in its results.

It added that its commercial subscription revenue would suffer due to continued coronavirus restrictions on patron numbers on pubs and clubs around Australia, as well as fewer people making use of hotels due to domestic travel restrictions.

Earlier in the week, Telstra said it would be removing the Live Pass streaming feature from the official AFL and NRL apps, and replacing it with functionality from Kayo.

Live Pass streaming in the MyFootball app or official Netball app will be untouched.

Telstra has a stake in Kayo thanks to its 35% ownership of Foxtel. In May last year, News Corp wiped AU$931 million off its balance sheet as an impairment charge related to "the goodwill and indefinite-lived intangible assets at Foxtel".

After News' announcement, Telstra followed suit with a AU$300 million write-down of its stake in the pay TV provider, resulting in its share being valued at AU$450 million.

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