Foxtel’s Kayo to make some sports free to watch in strategy backflip

Foxtel’s sports streaming service Kayo will release some games and events from behind the paywall in a major pivot in strategy that could change the way it negotiates broadcast deals.

Kayo launched in late 2018 and has used a hard paywall in its two-year history. But on Thursday, Foxtel’s chief executive Patrick Delany confirmed Kayo would now pursue a “freemium” strategy so non-subscribers can gain access to some sports, such as the Supercars. The move will also allow advertisers to reach more viewers.

Foxtel negotiated to broadcast some Supercars events free-of-charge for its users.
Foxtel negotiated to broadcast some Supercars events free-of-charge for its users.Credit:Getty

“That will give rise to much more reach,” Mr Delany said. “It means that if you are pausing your subscription… you’ll now continue to have action and access to some live sports but also an array of our repeats, scores and stats.”

Foxtel’s move is a pivot from the original strategy for Kayo, which involved a hard paywall. The decision to change the model could be perceived in two ways – either it is struggling to attract the subscriber numbers it needs with its current model, or it has recognised the desire for mass audiences by some sports codes. Foxtel claims it’s the latter. Kayo currently has more than 600,000 paid subscribers.


A hard paywall does not necessarily appeal to smaller sporting codes such as motorsports, surfing or volleyball that are focused on boosting audiences.

Foxtel said start it will start to broadcast some Supercars events for free and has signalled it will branch out into other sports with this approach. Foxtel announced its new Supercars deal in late September.

The other benefit to the hybrid model is that advertisers looking to reach large audiences could achieve this with a pay TV operator, not just with a commercial broadcaster. It allows Foxtel to provide sports codes with a way to reach a broader audience and compete on those grounds against commercial broadcasters.

Industry sources who spoke on the condition of anonymity said Mr Delany discussed this proposal in talks with Rugby Australia about a new broadcast deal. The sports code is in advanced talks with Foxtel and Nine Entertainment Co (owner of this masthead) but is yet to make a final decision.

Most Viewed in Business

Source: Thanks