Feevee pricing war heats up Down Under

Australia’s fledging cable feevee operators appear poised for a savage pricing war before either of them has hit the airwaves.

Ahead of its Sept. 20 launch, Optus Vision – a co-venture between Continental Cablevision, telco Optus, the Nine Network and the Seven web – released its four-tiered pricing structure. It starts at A$25 ($18.80) a month for a package of news, music, entertainment and education channels.

For $25.60 a month, subscribers receive the basic package with either three movie services or a range of sports channels, while an all-inclusive Deluxe package costs $30.05 a month.

Despite entering the market with by far the lowest price, OV chief executive Geoffrey Cousins denied gimmickry or predatory pricing.

“This announcement is not the first shot in a price war, nor is it an introductory or trial offer,” he says.

Although rival cabler Foxtel, backed by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp. and public telco Telstra, has not revealed pricing ahead of its Oct. 23 launch, Foxtel’s customer service center is presently quoting a one-off installation fee of under $75.23, with a monthly fee of “between $33.85 and $37.62.”

A Foxtel executive says those who pay for OV’s basic package will “get nothing.”

“The OV package with the value is the (Deluxe) one and we will deliver better for a few more dollars,” the source says. “But we are humble enough to make adjustments. We have the great luxury of seeing what OV is doing first. I think our installation price will be similar and we could drop below theirs.”

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