Vodafone will offer money back to VodafoneTV customers who bought the service outright from a retailer from Sept 23, 2019, to Dec 9, 2021.
The telco said in December it would scrap the VodafoneTV set top box service on Sept 30 this year citing lower customer numbers than expected and a “rapidly changing content landscape”. The service has about 100,000 customers in total.
The box plugged into TVs and gave access to Sky TV, free-to-air channels, and apps such as Netflix, Neon, YouTube, and Amazon Prime Video.
Customers did not have to subscribe to Vodafone broadband to use it, but many boxes were distributed to customers as part of Vodafone broadband offers and bundles.
On Wednesday, Vodafone confirmed customers who bought the box outright from a retailer (such as The Warehouse, Noel Leeming, or even Vodafone itself) and activated it from June 1, 2021, to Dec 9, 2021, can claim $179, the full retail cost.
Those who activated service from July 1, 2020, to May 31, 2021, can claim $100, and those who activated from Sept 23, 2019, to June 30, 2020, can claim $75.
All those who are eligible can claim back their money from May via the VodafoneTV site as Vodafone credit or as reimbursement to a chosen bank account.
But customers who bought the box outright from its October 2017 launch up to Sept 22, 2019, are out of luck.
Vodafone spokesperson Nicky Preston said about 40,000 customers are eligible for reimbursement, but the 60,000 customers who received the box as part of a bundle are not.
“Those boxes are still owned by Vodafone and should be returned via the device recycling program when the customer stops using them,” Preston said. (An online form can be found here).
Preston said the company is emailing eligible customers on Wednesday and Thursday to inform them they can claim some money back.
“The decision to close VodafoneTV was a difficult one, but necessary so we can continue to invest into areas like customer service, network, and ICT to provide customers with great connectivity and digital services, instead of continuing to run VodafoneTV as a loss-making service.”
A steep rise in the popularity of cheap streaming products like Google Chromecast or more premium options like Apple TV may have contributed to Vodafone’s decision to axe its service. Since 2017, far more new TVs have had Chromecast functionality built-in, and many have an Android interface that allows apps to be downloaded directly, negating the need for a set top box.
Vodafone is helping all VodafoneTV customers switch and is actively nudging them towards Sky.
“We are working very closely with Sky on transitioning the customers who have Sky subscriptions with their VodafoneTV over to Sky directly,” Preston said.
Sky’s streaming revenue for its own services Sky Sport Now, Neon, And Rugby Pass was up 34% in its February half-year results to $48.5 million.