The hits keep coming for Foxtel

Last month it was revealed that subscription numbers to Foxtel’s Kayo Sports had dived from 402,000 in November to just 370,000, a decline of 8%.

However, the result was dismissed by News Corp chief executive, Robert Thomson, who claimed that Kayo Sports would experience a sharp pick-up in subscriber numbers once the AFL and NRL seasons kicked off.

Since making that statement, the situation has gone from bad to worse for Kayo.

With the COVID-19 pandemic ripping through the world, multiple live sporting events have been cancelled or postponed, covering almost every code (list here).

Yesterday, this list grew further with Foxtel’s ‘jewel in the crown’ – AFL – announcing that it would suspend its season until until at least 31 May. While the NRL is yet to formerly suspend its season, with domestic travel bans in place, it seems inevitable that it will follow suit.

And then there is the Tokyo Olympics, which is almost certain to be delayed. Already, the Australian Olympic Committee (AOC) has told athletes to prepare for Tokyo to host an Olympics next year, believing the Games cannot start this July as scheduled.

All of this spells doom for Kayo Sports, whose only competitive advantage in the crowded online streaming market is live sports. Unlike competitor streaming services, it does not have a catalogue of television shows and movies to fall back on. And with nothing of substance to offer, there is no reason for anybody to remain subscribed.

This also spells bad news for its parent Foxtel, which is slowly losing the subscription television wars to newer and more nimble competitors like Netflix, Amazon, Stan and Disney, who have stolen market share and shredded Foxtel’s margins.

There is no way to sugar coat this. Foxtel is in long-term decline, suffering both shrinking margins and falling market share.

Unconventional Economist
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  1. nothing will make me happier than seeing Foxtel closing down. A company which contributed to the distraction of Labour’s NBN in order to keep competition out still losing to competition. lol

    • The whole thing was the Game of Mates writ large. It’s hard to think of any other business in the last 30 years that managed to create a monopoly on so many fronts, promising one thing then slowly mangling the product till it was only slightly better than free to air TV (and even that is debatable). It can and should rot.

  2. stop the stoats

    Just replay the Collingwood Grand Final win over and over again that will keep the subscribers happy.

  3. Dropped my box off at the post office this morning. Probably won’t even get Kayo when sport does come back on line. Eff em.

    • darklydrawlMEMBER

      I reckon you would be one of thousands. Live sport is their only selling point and that is shut down globally.

      The AFL was a huge driver for them, mainly as it is difficult to get a live stream via a VPN or via other free means (AFL has a tiny global audience / draw thus a serious lack of alternative streaming options).

  4. AFL and NRL should have been in an isolation camp a month ago. None of this bs self-isolation ticking time-bomb that guaranteed the season would have to be cancelled at some stage.

  5. surflessMEMBER

    This is why NRL is trying every thing under the sun to keep playing. Both Foxtel and NRL would broke by June.

  6. There are massive layoffs happening right now. Today I heard of an Adelaide real estate agent who just let go 12 staff.

    Those people and thousands like them are going home to cancel every subscription, app and expense they can.
    Foxtel will be the first to go.