Does Foxtel's "free" iPad Mini offer good value?

Foxtel’s latest promotion offers a “free” iPad Mini for new customers signing up to a twelve month contract. There’s no such thing as “free” in this context, but does it offer good value?
Subscription TV lives and breathes on the number of paying customers it can get — and critically, those it can attract above and beyond the paying customers, with churn being a very real concern. In an effort to attract new customers, Foxtel’s running a promotion that offers the first 3,000 customers to sign up a “free” iPad mini. Naturally it’s not actually free; you’ve got to pay for a Foxtel subscription along the way. But how do the numbers actually stack up?
The model in question, as per Foxtel’s terms and conditions, is the entry level 16GB iPad Mini WiFi model. Officially speaking that’s a $369 product. You can save a dollar here or there shopping around, and I’ve no doubt that if Foxtel’s purchased 3,000 of the things, it’s probably paid a little less than that, but it’s a fair benchmark.
The minimum cost — and to Foxtel’s credit, they make this very explicit in bold type at the top of the terms and conditions — of the most basic package that would apply is $714 over twelve months. You’ve got be a standard installation and a new customer, which is par for the course for these kinds of new customer incentive packages; it’s not clear what would happen if you were a lapsed Foxtel customer coming back into the fold, but certainly existing customers couldn’t recontract for a free iPad. You also can’t combine it with other offers, if they exist where you happen to want your installation. Also, fairly obviously, it’s not like you can check a counter to see if the 3,000 iPad Minis have actually gone yet or not.
The hook here is that Foxtel offers its Go streaming video product over iOS, and the Mini is pretty decent way to watch Go, as long as you keep an eye on your data quota.

Which means that what you’re actually getting is the the Essentials pack for $28.75 per month, as opposed (based on what Foxtel’s website indicated was a Sydney postcode price) $47 per month. Before you ask, no, Game Of Thrones isn’t included in that tier; you’d have to bump all the way up to the $122 Platinum package. Something tells me Foxtel would be happy to take your money, but clearly the “free” iPad is less of a costs reduction in that scenario.
As with all things Pay-TV, the real crux here arguably isn’t a “free” iPad. It’s whether you’ll get value out of the subscription in terms of what you’re likely to watch over that twelve month minimum term you’re contracted for. If you’re a die-hard TV junkie (who doesn’t have Foxtel anyway) then there’s value there. If you’re on the fence, it’d arguably be worth having a look at some of Foxtel’s month-by-month IPTV packages such as Foxtel Play — because if you found you watched a lot of TV that way, then it’d clearly be worth it. Foxtel being Foxtel, there’ll be another promotion along shortly.
Source: Foxtel

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