Pay TV wholesaler Fetch is now adding on average more than 20,000 new customers each month, reaping the benefits of the broadband bundling wars as telcos compete for market share as the NBN continues to roll out.
That is a faster growth rate than Foxtel, which reported a 2 per cent decline in cable and satellite subscribers last financial year, and Stan, which gained about 90,000 subs from February through August.
Majority-owned by Malaysia’s Astro Overseas Limited, Fetch raked in $130 million in revenues in the past financial year and will be cash flow positive in the second half of the 2018 fiscal year.
Fetch has more than 600,000 subscribers, bundled with four of the top six ISPs: Optus, iiNet, Dodo and iPrimus.
“The NBN creates a huge opportunity for Fetch bundling, with 5.4 million households expected to migrate to the NBN in the next 24 months,” Fetch CEO Scott Lorson tells IF.
“The product is strong, our content offering continues to improve and our ISP partners are now bundling aggressively as part of their broadband land grabs. Also Fetch is investing heavily in our own marketing to drive brand awareness, understanding and consideration.
“Fetch is also seeing strong sales in retail through Harvey Norman, JB Hi-Fi, The Good Guys and Bing Lee.”
About 50 per cent of customers subscribe to the linear channels packs. Lorson is very happy with the take-up for the four “skinny” channel packs, each priced at $6 per month, which launched in February.
Demand is roughly equal between the Knowledge (17 channels), Vibe (13) and Variety (9) packs, followed by Kids (10). The Ultimate pack, which encompasses all packs and costs $20 per month, is proving popular with young families.
Both Netflix and Stan are carried on the Fetch platform. Lorson describes the Netflix take-up as phenomenal and is encouraged by growing demand for Stan and Hayu.
Fetch offers more than 7,000 movies to rent or buy and about 200 TV shows (seasons or episodes) including Game of Thrones, The Handmaid’s Tale, The Walking Dead, Outlander and Big Little Lies.
“The three week window for movie purchase (electronic sell through) is proving quite successful as people are encouraged to shift from rental to ownership,” he said.
“Overall we are tracking toward more than 2 million annual movie transactions, rental and purchase combined, with both transaction types growing strongly.”
Customers typically watch on average four hours of content each day on their Fetch STBs, with around 80 per cent of that live viewing of free-to-air and subscription channels.
Subscribers record on average 120 shows per month and view more than 40. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the most popular playback series are those that are the highest-rated, with a slight skew towards drama, kids and reality.
Customers also get the FTA channels’ catch-up services plus YouTube and the option to buy six ethnic packs totalling 73 channels: Mandarin, Cantonese, Italian, Korean, Pinoy, Hindi/Punjabi/Urdu.