TBI Tech & Analysis: How Foxtel’s Hubbl is tackling subscriber churn

Mr. Inbetween (Source: Foxtel)

Australian media giant Foxtel launched Hubbl, a new streaming operating system, last month. Omdia’s Adam Thomas explores how this move strengthens the company for the future by reducing churn.

Launching in March, Foxtel’s new Hubbl system is used via either a standalone plug-in Hubbl device (costing A$99 ($64)) or integrated within a Hubbl Glass 4K smart TV set (A$1,595 to A$1,995).

The cost of subscribing to Foxtel TV packages or streaming apps comes on top of those prices. Shortly after launch, the Hubbl-integrated devices provided access to 18 streaming services, featuring a mix of global and local and free and pay.

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Impact assessment and outlook

With Comcast and Sky UK as its technical partners, the Hubbl roll-out bears striking similarities to Sky’s recent device portfolio additions.

The standalone Hubbl box is similar to the Sky Stream Puck while the Hubbl Glass is essentially a version of the UK’s Sky Glass, but modified for the Australian market.

With its roots firmly in traditional pay-TV, Foxtel (Mr. Inbetween, The Twelve) has recently closed its cable TV service.

It continues to distribute pay-TV via satellite and still has some 1.5 million households subscribing to the satellite service, so its traditional business will remain important for some time.

Nonetheless, the development of Hubbl, initially carried out under the ‘Project Magneto’ codename, is another future-proofing step for Foxtel, to sit alongside the portfolio of streaming services it has rolled out.

In addition to its function as a content-delivery hub, Hubbl also facilitates some important subscription management capabilities.

Similar to the Optus SubHub service available domestically – and others such as Verizon +play, Virgin Media Stream and SKT T Universe that have launched elsewhere – Hubbl provides users with a simple interface to easily switch their subscriptions to streaming services on and off.

It also offers price incentives for multiple subscriptions – up to a maximum of a A$15 monthly discount for signing up to five streaming subscriptions via Hubbl. The super-bundling capability provided by subscription management services offers the potential of highly attractive benefits to operators in terms of churn reduction.

The excerpt above is from the ‘TV & Video Industry Developments Impact Brief – March 2024’, written by Omdia’s Adam Thomas, senior principal analyst for Media & Entertainment. Omdia, like TBI, is part of Informa Tech. To read this brief in full, click here (subscription required).

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