Foxtel and Netflix are the two biggest players in Australia’s entertainment subscription market. The battle isn’t just one of competing services, but one of old versus new, and of traditional TV viewing versus video streaming on demand. So, which offers the best bang for your entertainment buck?
With Foxtel fighting hard to maintain its previously unchallenged superiority, we thought we’d offer a comparison between the two different methods of delivering entertainment, represented by Foxtel and Netflix. It’s time to find out: what are the major differences between the old guard and the new kid on the block? Who offers the best content and the best value for money?
Netflix vs Foxtel: Who Offers Better Value?
As it stands, Netflix offers the cheapest base price at $9.99 a month, though you will be relegated to SD-quality, which seems fine until you realise what HD looks like in comparison. However, you’ll also get a one month free trial to see if you like it. Beyond the base $9.99, you won’t be subject to extra set-up fees or anything of the sort, but even SD Netflix can use around 300MB of data per hour, so it probably won’t hurt to have an unlimited broadband plan if you’re going to be “Netflix and chilling” a lot. You’ll also get the full range of content that Netflix has to offer even with the base price.
The main difference between Netflix and the Foxtel brand is that Foxtel offers traditional cable TV that isn’t broadcast over the internet, as well as its own streaming arm – Foxtel Now.
- Netflix starts at about $10 a month and you get access to everything in an SD stream.
- Foxtel Now starts at $25 a month, but has channel packs – to get everything you’d be looking at spending $50+ a month.
- Foxtel Sports and Movies are ‘Premium’ channels, and are a $20 and $29 per month add-on.
Traditional Foxtel has also been grossly simplified in recent times, with three base channel packs – Movies & Drama, Sports Combo and Platinum HD.
- The Sports Combo starts off at $58 a month, where you get access to every game of live NRL & AFL plus ESPN channels that air baseball, basketball and NFL.
- Movies & Drama costs $69 a month while the Platinum HD pack regularly has promos that reduce it to about $100 a month but is often more than this.
This base cost is on-par with Netflix, but for a similar quantity of content you’ll probably need to pay at least $30 a month. Though if you have an average internet connection, traditional Foxtel may still be the preferred choice. Speaking of internet…
Foxtel Internet Channel Packs & NBN
Foxtel has introduced a suite of broadband + entertainment packs. The internet is on the Telstra network and customers can easily bundle broadband and entertainment. Packs kick off at a little over $100 a month, which could well work out cheaper than if you source Foxtel and your internet connection separately. NBN plans get access to the Standard Plus speed tier as standard, which can yield up to 50Mbps download speeds – not bad.
|Brand||Features||Max Data**/billing period||Advertised Cost^^/billing period|
Unlimited Broadband + Foxtel Plus
min. cost $1,727 over 12 month plan period
Unlimited Broadband + Movies HD
min. cost $1,835 over 12 month plan period
Unlimited Broadband + Sport HD
min. cost $1,835 over 12 month plan period
Unlimited Broadband + Platinum HD
min. cost $2,687 over 12 month plan period
|View all NBN plans listed on Canstar Blue||**^^View important information|
Foxtel Now Packs vs Netflix
Arguably the most fair comparison is Foxtel’s streaming arm Foxtel Now, pitted against Netflix. With Netflix you pay one flat fee per month and get access to all content. Where you pay more determines how many concurrent streams you can have and the quality of your stream. Foxtel Now is a little different in that it has channel packs:
- Docos – $10: Discovery, Nat Geo, Discovery Turbo, Crime Investigation, A&E, BBC Knowledge, History Channel, Nat Geo Wild
- Kids – $10: Disney, Disney Junior, Nickelodeon, Nick JR, Cartoon Network, Boomerang, CBeebies, Discovery Kids
- Lifestyle – $10: Lifestyle, Arena, Lifestyle Home, Lifestyle Food, E!, TLC
- Drama – $15: BBC UKTV, TV Hits, BBC First, Universal Channel
- Pop – $15: Fox Showcase, Fox8, Comedy Channel, MTV, 111 Funny, Arena
- Sports – $29: Fox Sports, Fox League, 503, Footy Play, 505, 506, 507, Bein Sports 1, 2, 3, ESPN 1 & 2, Eurosport
- Movies – $20: Premiere, Disney, Masterpiece, Action, Romance, Thriller, Family, Comedy, More, Greats
All packs also come with most news and music channels including Fox Sports News, Sky News Live, CNN, Smooth Arts, Channel V and Fox News. One of the major pluses of Netflix is that you don’t pay anything extra to unlock specific content – it’s all available on any plan. Foxtel Now has a much wider variety of content available, but you do pay for it; if you added ALL the packs together you’d be spending over $100 a month!
If movies, shows and documentaries are what you primarily watch, Netflix might be enough for you. If you’re sports-crazy or love more of the lifestyle programs, Foxtel does have a bit more to offer. While Netflix has a huge range of movies and shows, keep in mind that Foxtel will generally get the latest releases and exclusive access to some of the biggest shows, like Game of Thrones.
The verdict on value
Compared to Netflix Australia, Foxtel provides far more content, with channels broadcasting 24/7 just like any other TV channel. Having the ability to record your favourite shows is a huge bonus for Foxtel customers as it adds the ‘on demand’ element that makes Netflix so popular. Overall, both seem to offer good value for money, considering what’s on offer and what exactly you’re after. The added bonus of getting Foxtel with no lock-in contract strengthens its value proposition even further, while it’s hard to argue that Netflix for just $9.99 isn’t a good deal. On price alone, Netflix obviously wins out, but in terms of value, that depends on your individual needs.
Netflix Vs Foxtel Now: Pros and Cons
All in all, you’re probably overloaded with information in the buying process. Here’s a quick rundown of how Netflix stacks up against its closest rival — Foxtel Now.
Who has the best content?
The main difference between the two services is that Netflix places a big emphasis on TV shows, while Foxtel is more focused on providing the latest movies on demand and exclusive live sports.
Netflix is pretty easy to cover here, as there is no live sports to be found, and no sports at all (replay or otherwise). While you may find some interesting sports documentaries, TV rights deals and the like make it prohibitive for Netflix to enter in this segment of pay TV where traditional platforms like Foxtel reign supreme.
Foxtel also has exclusive rights to the most popular leagues in Australia – AFL and NRL. Just recently, Foxtel launched a 24-hour rugby league channel, so if you’re a South Sydney superfan or bonkers for Brisbane Broncos, then Foxtel is obviously the choice here.
Foxtel also has a hold on Super Rugby and European football, as well as NFL and NBA through its partnership with ESPN. Also expect superior coverage of Australia’s international fixtures for rugby, cricket, football and many other sports.
Foxtel’s multiple movie channels show the latest releases as soon as they’re available, and the Foxtel Store allows you to rent movies on demand rather than wait for them to be shown on TV. Netflix, on the other hand, has a large back catalogue of movies across every genre, but struggles when it comes to new blockbusters.
Netflix’s strength lies in the depth and breadth of its TV shows, which includes a range of Netflix originals such as You, The Crown and Narcos. However, it’s important to note that Netflix Australia’s offerings aren’t identical to the range offered to US customers. Due to the complicated battling ground of TV rights, Netflix loses popular shows such as Seinfeld, Friends, Better Call Saul and Breaking Bad to Stan.
While it doesn’t boast quite the same range of quality TV shows as Netflix, Foxtel includes some of the biggest shows, including those from HBO. So for premium, popular shows, Foxtel is the superior choice, however for sheer variety and in-house productions, Netflix reigns supreme.
Both Netflix and Foxtel can be subscribed to online within a matter of minutes. In Foxtel’s case, it usually takes a few days for the set-top box to be delivered and installed in your home, but once it’s in you’re ready to go. In this respect, Netflix does have the edge on its traditional rival – you can start watching it right after you subscribe, whether its on your phone, tablet or even smart TV, and with the company offering a one-month free trial, you can always change your mind.
The overall verdict
All in all, deciding between Foxtel and Netflix comes down to what you really want to watch. If you place a higher value on live sports and blockbuster movies, then Foxtel might be for you, if you can afford it. On the other hand, if you’re more interested in TV shows, movies and docos for a cheap price, then you might want to consider Netflix.
Many Aussies love the two services so much, they now subscribe to both every month, and often with no lock-in contracts for either service it means that if you’re not satisfied you can cancel after your month is up with no dramas. We’re calling this one a tie, though it’s undeniable that Foxtel is superior for live TV, sports and premium content, whereas Netflix reigns supreme for cost and in-house productions. The choice is yours!
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|Brand||Subscription Type||No. of Screens/same time viewing||Advertised Cost^^/month|
min. cost $25 over 1 month
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min. cost $35 over 1 month
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|^^View important information|