Amazon Prime, Foxtel and HBO battle for viewers

Angus Kidman 16 December 2016 NEWS


Foxtel's deep pockets mean Amazon is struggling for the rights to big shows in Australia.

So yesterday Amazon Prime Video finally launched officially in Australia with a cut-price offer of US$2.99 a month for the first three months. In truth, it would be hard to justify the full US$5.99 a month price.

As our lists of all the TV shows and movies which Amazon Prime Video has on offer show, there isn't a whole lot to watch. Indeed, even for some of Amazon's own series, it can't offer everything. Because it has already signed Australian rights deals with Stan, new episodes of Transparent and Mozart In The Jungle will be available on Stan before they show ever up on Amazon's own platform.

More broadly, Australian rights for many TV series and movies have already been hoovered up by Netflix and Stan. But the real thorn in Amazon's side (and indeed in Netflix's) is Foxtel, which has coughed up big money for local rights from many producers so that it can populate its pay TV service and the associated Foxtel Play online broadcasts.

The most evident example of this is with HBO, the US cable channel that has produced such notable modern hits as Game Of Thrones, Westworld, Veep, Sex And The City and countless others. In the US, Amazon has a deal with HBO to offer access to its shows through Amazon Channels. You have to pay an extra US$14.99 a month, but it's a simple way of getting to see those shows without a more expensive pay TV contract.

But in Australia, HBO has a long-term and exclusive deal with Foxtel. Indeed, come January it will have a blanket deal which means it gets first-run rights to every HBO show down under. If you want to watch Game Of Thrones legally, you'll have to give money to Foxtel in some form, whether that's via a full pay TV subscription or by signing up for Foxtel Play.

Angus Kidman's Findings column looks at new developments and research that help you save money, make wise decisions and enjoy your life more. It appears Monday through Friday on

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